Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
From Shakespeare's The Tempest
I had seen M. Scot Skinner's name in print long before I met him. For years he wrote theater reviews for the Arizona Daily Star
, and I probably read all of them. He was quick to praise and equally quick to give a thrashing to a production that missed the mark. He was always fun to read.
Not too long ago he couldn't even bring himself to review a show he was to write about for the Weekly
, a show he called “up a fake creek without a paddle.” He wrote, “There's no way I'm going to review what I'm seeing right now. Who wants to be the mean old man with nothing better to do than slam the hard work of a serious-minded playwright and four actors who are probably kind and decent people? Not me.” So quite cleverly, he did review the show.
I got to know Scot in a more personal way through my partner, Mary Kate Cooney, who was a copy editor at the Star
for years. She had taken him under her wing when he switched from reviewing to the copy desk. In May 2014, when he heard that she had entered hospice because her body had had enough of ovarian cancer's malicious tomfoolery, he wrote in a Facebook post:
"When I was suddenly reassigned to the Arizona Daily Star
copy desk in 2002, I had so much to learn and my long-suffering teacher was Mary Cooney. I was a difficult student in every way, but she sighed and kept at it. I owe her so much. As of tonight, my smart and funny friend is in hospice care at TMC's Peppi's House. How I wish we could have one more cheese crisp together at El Minuto."
She's waiting for you Scot. I hope El Minuto delivers to the great hereafter.
M. Scot Skinner passed on Sunday, April 3 after complications resulting from a bacterial infection. He was a great talent and an even greater human being. He will be truly and deeply missed in the theatre and writing communities, as well as the Tucson community at large. Information regarding services for Scot is forthcoming.