Crystal Skillman

By: Adam McGovern
April 2, 2013

Crystal-headshot-2

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.

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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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