I want to tell you a story about my mother, who was a union organizer. When she went on the frontline of pickets, she took me with her. My first performances were on those frontlines. My mother and her fellow organizers, and all of us walking that line, were working to make teachers feel empowered in the classrooms, so that they could focus on teaching kids who would hopefully stand up one day and do something to make a difference.
And so I loved Skeleton Crew because I loved Faye, a character who reminded me of my mother, a woman who is tough as nails, whose heart is as big as the world, and who tries to protect people with her fists and her heart. I loved the play because I loved Dez, who reminded me of all the guys I loved in my twenties, who had so much fire and so much heart and were trying to figure out how to negotiate this very complicated world that often felt stacked against them. I loved the play because I loved Shanita, who reminded me of myself at an age where my idealism was crashing against the realities of the world. Shanita is sitting on a precipice and thinking, as I do now that I have a three-year old, about the obligations she owes to the future: “What kind of world do I want to build for my children? What will I sacrifice and work for so that their lives are better and easier than mine?” And I loved Skeleton Crew because I loved Reggie, who in many ways is in the position that many of us are in—trying to hold two worlds together.
I just wanted to be in a room with these people and take all of the big capital-P politics that are going on in this city, in this country, and try and look at them on a human scale. It’s what Studio does so beautifully: take big ideas and sit them in the living rooms and breakrooms of human beings, so that we can see, as if through a prism, some of the personal repercussions of those political decisions.
One of the reasons I keep coming back to theatre is that it cannot be automated. It actually takes collective action, which was in my bottle as a kid. I hope Skeleton Crew inspires you to take whatever action you want to take in the world and make it a better place.
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