Photo by Jim Cox
Tonye Patano (left) and Brian Marable in Skeleton Crew
Moxie Theatre co-founder Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, one of the best directors in town, is at the helm of a new co-production between Moxie and the Old Globe Theatre. As you’d imagine, the cast she directs in Skeleton Crew, a long-winded but gripping play by Dominique Morisseau, is in good hands. The third work in Morisseau’s three-play “Detroit Cycle” takes place entirely in a break room at an automaking plant in Detroit that is on the verge of being closed. Trapped in the desperation of that situation are Faye (Tonye Patano), the no-B.S. philosopher queen of the factory line; Reggie (Brian Marable), the conflicted blue collar-turned-white collar supervisor; angry (and gun-packing) young Dez (Amari Cheatom); and the resolute and very pregnant Shanita (Rachel Nicks). The fiercely expressive Patano carries the drama, but all four are splendid and, each in his or her own way, sympathetic.
Morisseau’s play, which was presented three years ago at the Globe’s Powers New Voices Festival, is sharp and illuminating, portraying hard workers who may be have-nots but who are not losers, and whose sacrifices are noble ones. Yet devices like expectant Shanita’s symbolic dreams are overdone. Morisseau’s points are best made bluntly and achingly, but without metaphor.
Skeleton Crew runs through May 7 at the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, Balboa Park. $29 and up; oldglobe.org
• • •
Just as Graham Greene’s 1969 novel Travels with My Aunt was a highly entertaining read, so too is playwright Giles Havergal’s 1989 stage adaptation. While it’s more substantial than a staged reading, the play doesn’t really require any sets or props—just a few cracking good actors to inhabit the characters of stuffy Henry Pulling, his flamboyant Aunt Augusta and some vivid peripheral characters. North Coast Repertory Theatre’s production of Travels with My Aunt really can’t miss with a cast that includes Richard Baird, James Saba (a comical Aunt Augusta) and David McBean. Benjamin Cole is the fourth actor on stage, the one who doesn’t say much. A gimmick show, if you will, Travels with My Aunt succeeds because it relies on Greene’s delicious language more than on impersonations.
Travels with My Aunt runs through May 7 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $43-$50; northcoastrep.org
Heathers: A musical adaptation of the classic ‘80s movie about two high school lovers who start killing their classmates. Directed by Manny & Tony Bejarano, it opens April 21 at the OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
Silent Sky: Lauren Gunderson’s new play about the forgotten women of the Harvard Observatory, who made breakthroughs in the field of astronomy. Directed by Robert Smyth, it opens April 21 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
Anda’s Love: In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Old Globe presents a staged reading of Joshua Sobol’s drama about a German reporter and an Israeli woman who find they share a surprising bond. Directed by Barry Edelstein, it happens April 24 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org