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Theatrical ode to Detroit autoworkers makes its Michigan debut

Chuk Nowak
Courtesy of Detroit Public Theatre
A new play about Detroit auto workers facing a plant closure is making its Michigan premiere at the Detroit Public Theatre this weekend.

After lots of praise from critics in New York, a play set in Detroit, written by someone from Detroit is coming to Detroit. The play is “Skeleton Crew,” and it’s beginning a four-week run at the Detroit Public Theatre this weekend.

The play “is a peek into the world of the auto industry,” said Dominique Morisseau, the playwright who is originally from Detroit. “This is about a small fictional stamping plant,” one of the last in the city. The play focuses on a group of workers who are threatened by plant closure.

A play with four characters and one set created a challenge for Morisseau, but she worked to amplify the tension in the theater and to “make that space that they’re in have like a ticking time bomb,” she said.

Morisseau, who has many family members who have worked in the auto industry, drew from conversations with her relatives to create the characters in the play.

Bringing “Skeleton Crew” to Detroit offers a new opportunity for the play, but also a new challenge: “Detroit doesn’t let you get it wrong.” And that the workplace troubles depicted in the play are still present in the city could allow the play to be especially poignant in the Motor City.

Listen above for the full conversation.

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