It would be great to think of 2008 as a bygone past, and the dire consequences for workers phased out in a bad economy yesteryear's news, but the play Skeleton Crew, an Atlantic Theater Company production at the Linda Gross Theater, Dominique Morisseau's powerful look at Detroit autoworkers, now moved to the, registers a cycle that's still out of control for many Americans. In a locker room, four characters take breaks, bicker, and make for a company family, an ensemble of workers:
Faye (an excellent Lynda Gravatt) who is also a union rep, Dez (Jason Dirden), an angry but decent guy with a gun, Shanita (Nikiya Mathis), pregnant and happy at work, and Reggie (Wendell B. Franklin), their empathetic, emotionally entangled supervisor. Under Ruben Santiago-Hudson's fine, sensitive direction, the play evokes their world in rhythms and starts as their work opportunities shrink. Auto plants are failing, becoming ghosts, and this is the crew that's left, each individual trying to be visible and viable. It's hard to keep your job, harder to reinvent yourself, but this group has its heart at the wheel. A fifth player, choreographer Adesola Osakalumi does a robot dance during breaks; often he's seen behind a scrim, his movements sharp and mechanical.
When Faye reveals she's been living in this break room, her home seized by the banks, you just don't know where she's going to end up. The center of this riveting drama, Faye is not alone; you wonder, who will be next.
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