Best Local Actress (2001)
Ironically, one of the ultimate compliments to any actor is not recognizing her--that is, not realizing that you've seen one performer play two different roles, because she's utterly consumed inside each character. Holly Hickman fooled and startled us with two performances at Fort Worth's Stage West. They required shifts in technique and tone--from profane street hood to grieving Irish mother--that Hickman achieved with the delicate mastery that comes not from acting, but from being. In Conor McPherson's deeply sad collection of ghost stories, The Weir, she was a single professional woman from Dublin invited into a pub full of lonely men swapping tales. A tearful Hickman recounted her brush with the supernatural--her drowned daughter making a telephone call asking her mother to please help her--and it was an extraordinary expression of the agony of surviving a loved one's death. Jane Martin's Criminal Hearts cast her as a trash-talking burglar and con artist who conspires with a repressed society matron (an equally captivating Emily Scott Banks) to roll the latter's husband (Gray Palmer). This highly implausible comedy--even by the elastic standards of theatrical farce--ensnared us thanks to Hickman's tomboy sexiness and volatile temper.