Skeleton Crew – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

For some, silver spoons are most likely made of plastic and rose-colored glasses don’t allow you to see. Life is not always fair. Just ask four factory workers at a Detroit car manufacturing plant where the scuttlebutt is the plant is on the verge of closing. While you may not love your job, it provides dollars to pay your rent, health care to cure your ills and the promise of a pension if you perform well over the years. Take a deep breath and enter the break room where this quartet of workers have shared their dreams and expressed their hopes for tomorrow. Now that tomorrow is in jeopardy.

“Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morisseau is one of three plays she has penned that expose life on the edge, where each paycheck is important and life is not filled with fairness or guarantees. Come meet Perri Gaffney’s Faye who always plays by the rules and has devoted almost three decades of hard work for the factory’s success. She is a union rep and fights hard for her people. How is it that she is now homeless and is sleeping in her car or in the break room?

Faye’s family ties go back a long way in her relationship with the plant manager Sean Nelson’s Reggie who is trapped in a no-win situation between his “people” and his superiors. How can he be true to both? Faye had a close bond with Reggie’s mom, and she feels a loyalty that she prays Reggie shares.

Toni Martin’s Shanita is pregnant which adds an urgency to her situation. She has always worked hard on the line and hopes that will augur in her favor if layoffs are made. She has an unusual affection for Leland Fowler’s Dez, a young man with dreams of running his own garage and some unorthodox ways of making that happen. Will his daring deeds be his undoing?

Detroit in 2008 is a time of change and unrest and these four have a lot to lose, whether they stand together or apart. They will make you care about their fate under the finely tuned direction of LA Williams, on a set designed by Caite Hevner, illuminated by Xavier Pierce’s lighting.

For tickets ($30 and up), call the Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 1-888-927-7529 or online at westportplayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Imagine the insecurity and uncertainty of life if you were a victim of the economy and subject to so much that was totally out of your control.

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