Two excellent performances elevate Trinity Rep’s Skeleton Crew, Dominique Morisseau’s frustrating yet very popular play about the slow death rattle of the Detroit auto industry. Set entirely in an auto plant break room, the play centers around four workers at various life stages (one is pregnant, one is nearing retirement…) The spunkiest is union steward Faye (Lizan Mitchell), a lesbian cancer survivor who’s maybe a little too entwined with middle management to do her job effectively. Mitchell is really excellent in a twitchy role; her arm movements and chain smoking suggest an inner restlessness. Young Will Adams, a student in the Brown/Trinity MFA program, is also very good as a machine operator with loftier goals, succeeding despite some really silly lines. (The friend who wanted to start his own radio station? Sure, okay.) The trouble is that Morisseau views her characters less as people and more as vessels to recite message-y monologues, and the messages often compete with one another. Are Faye’s money woes due to the cancer bills or the random Greektown Casino speech that pops up halfway through the play?
image: Will Adams, Jude Sandy and Lizan Mitchell [photo: Mark Turek]