(Alexis Soloski’s article appeared in The New York Times, 12/20; via Pam Green.)
A few years ago, the playwright Dominique Morisseau and her husband, the musician James Keys, traveled back home for a wedding. On their way into the reception, they saw a woman sitting in a car packed with possessions. When they left, she was still there. Knocking on her window, they asked if they could help. The woman accepted some money and told them she’d be all right. “It’s a rough time right now, but I’m going to get through it,” Ms. Morisseau recalled her saying.
She and her husband then drove away, upset by the conversation. “It felt perverted,” said Ms. Morisseau, 37, who like her husband was born and raised in Detroit. “This is the Motor City. This is where people make cars. Now it’s become a city where people are living in their cars.”
She already had many friends and relatives affected by factory closings or house foreclosures. From their stories and from that encounter, she started to construct “Skeleton Crew,” the final play in her prizewinning Detroit trilogy, which begins previews on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Atlantic Theater Company. Set in 2008, it centers on several workers and a manager in the last small auto plant standing.
Ms. Morisseau’s plays include the earlier entries in the trilogy, “Detroit ’67,” which was staged at the Public Theater and won the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, and “Paradise Blue,” which is set in 1949 and played the Williamstown Theater Festival last summer. “Sunset Baby,” a contemporary play about a father jailed for activities in the black power movement and his grifter daughter, was produced by the Labyrinth Theater Company in 2013.