Crystal Skillman

By: Adam McGovern
April 2, 2013


Stairwells, hallways, the backs of bars and someone’s living room; these are where our everyday dramas play out, and where some of CRYSTAL SKILLMAN (born 1974)’s plays are staged — adventurously situated and spontaneously conceived testaments of a headlong era’s impressions and a theatrical canon’s enduring insights. Her telegraphic dialogue, tips of icy loneliness and floodgates of feeling in surfaces Skillman’s sensitive eye can see through and show us inside. Her one-word titles, the free-associative prompts and nervous interrogation cues that compress and re-explode meaning in our hurried, texted, branded group consciousness — the “Telling” trilogy, for what we confide and for the remarks and behavior that reveal more than we mean to; “Hack!” for the spectre of workplace computer infiltration and the attendant fear of not being anyone original; “Follow” for the assumed communion of Facebook-era fantasy and the forebears’ footsteps that each of us must really trace behind alone; “CUT” for the unkindnesses of the throat-slitting entertainment world and the way three reality-show, um, hacks try to re-edit their decisions on and offscreen. Tragedies and farces that skim the moment — office drones, anime obsessives, random disaster victims — and tap the eternal disappointments and graces of experience. Stairways, backrooms, sofas and stages — our drama, our laughs, our life runs away from us and hides around corners, but Skillman knows where to look.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: George Macdonald Fraser, Kenneth Tynan, Marvin Gaye, Serge Gainsbourg, Maria Sibylla Merian.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Reconstructionist (1964–1973) and Revivalist (1974-82) Generations.


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