written by Dominque Morisseau, directed by Jason Nious
Dates: January 28, 2022 @ 7pm & January 29, 2022 @ 2 pm
Venue: Clark County Library, 1401 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV
Ticket price: Free
It is no easy time for the Detroit auto industry. The Great Recession is beginning to take hold, and one of the city’s last automobile machine shops is facing rumors of lay-offs and insolvency. Workers Faye, Shanita, and Dez are forced to face the prospects of unemployment and worse as the plant manager, Reggie, struggles to keep himself and his long-time colleagues afloat. A dynamic examination of how one factory’s downfall can lead to the dissolution of the hopes of an entire generation.
Director’s Note (from the program)
In 2008, workers at a fictional Detroit automobile factory confront the looming rumors of the plant’s foreclosure. Chaos and uncertainty run amok while job security, company protocols, suspicions, and loyalties hang in the balance. The distinction between blue and white collar becomes blurred as each character is forced to ask themselves the same question, “What am I going to do now?”
Many recent events flood my mind as I think about similar scenarios being played out over the past two years with the unprecedented impact of the pandemic. Our beloved theatre and live events industry came to a crashing halt as all in-person events were shut down. Even the heavy-hitting golden child of Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil, went bankrupt!
Where does loyalty to a job or industry fit in when the industry itself is unstable? In your 29th year of working towards a 30-year retirement with benefits, how do you suddenly become expendable? Will we be okay? Am I going to make it? And where do prayers and faith fit in to all of this?
Skeleton Crew is the epitome of art reflecting life through the lenses of both the recession of 2008 and the pandemic of 2020. It reminds us that everything must change. “Pivot” was the word that defined 2020, and it couldn’t ring more true for our theatre industry as we grasped at every chance to read plays on Zoom, create socially distanced and drive-thru productions, or completely abandon theatre and learn new skills to break into other industries.
The play also asks us to reckon with the fact that advances in technology mean computers and robots will be taking over more and more jobs once held by humans. Higher productivity and greater cost efficiency mean older systems and industries are becoming extinct.
But the play also teases us with the hope that there is still a place for us, even in a job as monotonous as a stamping plant. There is a soulful, almost ghostly power that we humans possess that can’t quite be manufactured. It’s in the banter in the break room, the punching of the time sheet, the puff of smoke from a cigarette, and the rhythmic sounds of people working together in unison. It breathes a sense of purpose into the building itself, which is delicately held together by the pride of the people who work there. It reminds us that we, too, matter.
I am proud to be making my directorial debut with A Public Fit. Our cast, designers, and crew have worked diligently to present this timely, American play. We look forward to sharing this journey with you and hope it leaves you with a better sense of your own values and self-worth.
Jason Nious | Director