Wedeline Casimir is the Emerging Arts Leader Fellow at American Stage for the 2019-2020 season. As a part of her development, she observed our Mainstage production of SKELETON CREW and shared the experience of getting it from the rehearsal hall to the stage through this blog series.
Sharing my experience and close-up observations of SKELETON CREW has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my time as the Emerging Arts Leader Fellow at American Stage because I feel I have grown as a leader, artist and advocate for the arts. To wrap up this short blog series, I’m thrilled to share some of the impact and feedback we received from our community.
One of the programs American Stage offers that I feel deeply connected to are Student Matinees, as I have a strong passion for education. Student Matinees are performances aimed directly at student audiences who visit our theater through field trips during the school day. American Stage also offers a free in-class workshop presented by an education faculty member, where they learn information about the play, such as the historical contexts, facts about the playwright, production elements and more. I was delighted to be a part of a number of workshops in the classroom and be able to attend the student matinee shows. As a part of the student experience, there is a chatback after the show to allow students to respond, question and ponder the themes and characters of the production. Students responded during chatbacks with very thoughtful questions such as “What personality traits did you connect with most about the character you played?” They also surprised me with in-depth questions like “Where did the music come from? The sound design really highlighted the emotional beats.” They even asked honest curious questions such as “Ya’ll a real couple though, right?” to the actors Camille and Rasell who played Dez and Shanita. The actors were very open and responded in a caring manner by answering questions in-depth and detailed for a stronger understanding. From the responses of the students and their level of engagement, it is clear that this has been an enriching experience for them and I’m happy to have played a tiny part in it.
SKELETON CREW has also left an impression on our adult audiences as well with audience members saying things such as, ““One of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time.” A guest even wished that they could buy the show’s soundtrack on CD. More than one guest was wiping away their tears as they left. An attendee noted the theme of “Walking the Line” for all the characters, but especially Reggie, and Enoch spoke to the challenges therein for his character. A guest said that the playwright, Dominique Morisseau, would be very happy with the ensemble’s work onstage, as the “relationships were so tight, so real, so beautiful.” One of my favorites comments was that a guest expressed frustration in the ending, but only because “I want to know what happens next!”
It has been a privilege to watch and work alongside such passionate and talented artists. It is my wish that this blog series has helped to elevate your overall theater experience. Though we may not know what’s next for the characters once the play has ended, I am hoping that what’s next for you and your family is a visit to American Stage to see our next play, the world premiere of THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS.
THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS runs March 11 – April 5. Tickets at americanstage.org/peopledownstairs
To learn more about ASFWD: The Next Generation, visit americanstage.org/FWD