Skeleton Crew, the latest in Dominique Morisseau’s 2016 entry in her Detroit Cycle, is a natural character-focused piece, well-adapted by a talented cast and director Jay O’Leary for Seattle’s ArtsWest stage. Skeleton Crew is an intense, funny, and humane show, and serves as a good opener for ArtsWest’s 2018-2019 season. Because of this, the rest of the season will hopefully be as enjoyable as its beginning.
Skeleton Crew examines the tension between Faye, a 29-years-employed auto stamp factory worker, and her boss Reggie, the man she practically raised as a child. Therefore, the play is about their surrogate mother and son relationship and the challenges they face in Great Recession-era Detroit. Filling out the ensemble are Dez and Shanita, Faye’s coworkers.
The quartet allows for the relationships between the characters to really sing. Reggie and Dez, played by Allen Miller III and Charles Wright, respectively, prove electric when playing off each other. Tracy Michelle Hughes is perfect as Faye, imbuing the character with dignity and empathy as she navigates her relationships.
Furthermore, the set is great. A cluttered break room, designed by Burton Yuen, sets the tone of the show from the very start. Skeleton Crew’s lived in world is the audience’s only point of entry. The cozy set emphasizes the play’s unlikely familial dynamics, as well as their uncertain circumstances, The play’s sound design, created by Stephon Jamaa’l Dorsey, compliments its setting as well. Everything from the sounds of machinery to rap and R&B blend together throughout. The humane and the inhumane intertwine in the story and its setting.
Skeleton Crew is an exciting start for the ArtsWest season- complex, entertaining, and relevant.
Skeleton Crew is running at ArtsWest until October 14; ArtsWest is at 4711 California Ave SW Seattle, WA 98116. For ticket information go to https://artswest.secure.force.com/ticket