In 2008 Detroit was hit hard with the outsourcing of components, the loss of vehicle assembly companies and gas prices going up, leaving the demand for trucks and sport-utility vehicles non-existent. General Motors Corp. was planning to lay off salaried workers, reduce productions and suspend dividends, bonuses, and shares while it looked to borrow billions. With auto plants folding like a deck of cards due to the falling sales of these vehicles, unemployment was at an all-time high, and this once proud Motor City had become the new American nightmare.
“Skeleton Crew,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, is a part of playwright Dominique Morisseau’s trilogy. “Skeleton Crew” takes us to the assembly line in the Great Recession where people are pushed to the limits of survival as they deal with the bitter truths brought out in the last auto stamping plant in Detroit.
Set during the turbulent period in 2008 in Detroit, where small factories made it possible for the Big Three to exist, plants are starting to close leaving longtime employees to scramble, wondering what their future holds.
Workers on both sides of the union were trying to negotiate their situation to survive and find themselves submerged in America’s financial crisis with little to no options. At one of the last auto plants standing, rumors were plaguing the company about a shutdown. The plant had been hit with multiple thefts on the premises as worried employees contemplate if the stories about the closing are true.
As time goes by, employees are dwindling, and the concerns of four workers are becoming more discerning by the day. Supervisor Reggie (Kelvin Roston Jr) is torn between the loyalty of the company, co-workers and his own family’s well-being; he is now being forced to make the ultimate decision on where he stands.
As the days go by, the workers are feeling the crunch of being another victim of the closing plants, and they are doing whatever it takes to endure their inescapable state.
One of Reggie’s co-workers is Faye (Jacqueline Williams), a union member who has been with the company for 29 years and is hoping that the company does not close until she reaches her 30th year anniversary, which will allow her to get a better severance package. Reggie and Faye have a special bond which causes Reggie a lot of frustrations, especially when it comes to her not following company rules.
Dez (Bernard Gilbert), a high strung, belligerent worker who seems to be causing issues for himself by being inordinate, is trying to make additional money working overtime to purchase his own garage. Shanita (AnJi White), who is pregnant, is clocking in as many hours as she can while toting the line to make sure she wouldn’t be on the cutting block.
Director Ron OJ Parson brought Dominique Morisseau’s trilogy to life by giving us an in-depth look of the obscurity of life on the assembly line when troubles hit and how far we are willing to go to become the survivor of the fittest.
All of the actors were outstanding and did an excellent job keeping the audience engaged, however Jacqueline Williams stole the show with her remarkable performance as Faye. She is witty and thoroughly entertaining. She made you laugh and cry while keeping you engulfed in the story. This play will make you think about the struggles of life and remind you that some of us are genuinely only a paycheck away from being homeless.
Let’s Play highly recommends that you come and check out this play. “Skeleton Crew” is worth the drive to Northlight Theatre.
Jeff committee, be on the lookout; this needs to be on your list of awards.
Before you see the play, start off the night by going to Jameson’s Charhouse and try some of their delicious food.
Written by Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Featuring Bernard Gilbert, Kelvin Roston Jr., AnJi White and Jacqueline Williams
January 25 – March 3, 2018
The cast includes:
Bernard Gilbert (Dez),
Kelvin Roston Jr. (Reggie)
Jacqueline Williams (Faye)
AnJi White (Shanita).