Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-09-19
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Six Degrees of Separation
by Kerry Reid
2018-09-12

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: John Guare

At: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: 773-728-7529; Redtwist.org; $35-$40. Runs through: Oct. 7

Before it was a game involving Kevin Bacon's film career, John Guare's 1990 play about New York socialites taken in by a con man provided a snapshot of the upper crust and its burnt edges.

Six Degrees of Separation, in some ways, shares a narrative pedigree with Guare's earlier and more overtly manic work, such as The House of Blue Leaves. Paul, the young Black man whose story about being Sidney Poitier's son opens doors on the Upper East Side, is as much a dreamer as wannabe composer Artie Shaughnessy in Blue Leaves. But Paul ( based on the real story of David Hampton, who briefly fooled friends of Guare's ) has an eerily prescient way of homing in on others' weaknesses. And instead of the heated social upheavals of the 1960s, the characters in Six Degrees face a 1980s New York that is becoming more sharply divided between haves and have-nots.

The real challenge in staging this piece is finding the balance between Paul and Ouisa Kittredge, the woman who finds herself drawn to Paul's story even as the relationship between herself and her art-dealer husband, Flan, begins to fray. ( The relationship with their kids—the ones Paul claims to know from Harvard—is already in tatters. ) Steve Scott's production for Redtwist features stellar work from Jacqueline Grandt as Ouisa and Donovan Session as Paul.

Grandt's Ouisa has a touch of flyaway eccentricity and palpable unrest about her. Before Paul enters their home, she and Flan are desperately scheming how to get $2 million from their wealthy friend, Geoffrey ( Jim Morley ), in order to buy a Cezanne to sell to the Japanese. "Having a rich friend is like drowning and having a friend who makes lifeboats," she tells us—the friend never knows if you just want the lifeboat.

Session brings incandescent charm that almost—but not quite—covers the chip on Paul's shoulder. And the truth is, if he had been born to the families he's set up as his marks, his gifts for creating alternative worlds might have been his lifeboat. Instead, his desperation leads him to ultimately target people who are as hand-to-mouth as he is.

Or perhaps some people are born to gull others. Guare doesn't give us a lot of backstory on Paul, but his con games on the Kittredges and their friends reveals the fault lines in their social facades. Their kids hate them and their livelihoods depend upon other people believing that they "belong" in the higher reaches of society.

The two-sided Kandinsky painting that Brian Parry's Flan proudly displays ( suggested here in Shea Messinger's set by torn abstract bits of colored plastic dangling from the ceiling ) is an apt metaphor for the shadow sides of all the characters in Guare's sometimes-caustic, sometimes-tragic prismatic tale, brought out to great effect in Scott's multi-hued staging.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

FALL THEATER: DESTINOS 'Destinos' theme is lifelong journey for founder Myrna Salazar 2018-09-19 - Think Rita Moreno mixed with your favorite world-traveler aunt who brings you trinkets from far-away lands and mesmerizes you with stories of intrigue ...


Gay News

'Destinos' picks 2018-09-19 - Destinos: The 2nd Annual Chicago International Theater Festival runs Sept. 20-Nov. 4. Produced by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance ( see related story ...


Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW From Schaumburg to New York, Alexandra Billings puts on a show 2018-09-19 - Roughly 30 years ago, trans* actor/recording artist/pageant queen/activist Alexandra Billings was sentenced to death. The diagnosis: She was HIV-positive. She remembered the doctor's ...


Gay News

Burlesque community mourns abrupt closing of Uptown Underground 2018-09-19 - The speakeasy-style cabaret bar Uptown Underground was evicted Sept. 10, abruptly leaving performers to find a new home for their shows. The venue, ...


Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW Easy does it, A dozen classic plays and musicals 2018-09-19 - My gambit is to recommend revivals of works that have been staged and tested previously in Chicago and elsewhere, sometimes uncountable times over ...


Gay News

Paula Vogel in Chicago Sept. 20 2018-09-19 - Goodman Theatre will host its "Igniting Imagination: The Art of Great Teaching" education and engagement luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 20, with Pulitzer Prize-winning ...


Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW Artemisia Fest fights for femme presentation 2018-09-19 - Google Artemisia Gentileschi's 17th-century oil painting Judith Beheading Holofernes. Seriously. Do it. I'll wait. The image is emblematic of Gentileschi's art: Magnificent, lush ...


Gay News

FALL OPERA PREVIEW Operas cover love, lust and lesbians 2018-09-19 - Replete with princes in crowns, queens in leather, women in love and womanizers in lust, the start to this year's opera season is ...


Gay News

FALL OPERA PREVIEW Operas cover love, lust and lesbians 2018-09-19 - Replete with princes in crowns, queens in leather, women in love and womanizers in lust, the start to this year's opera season is ...


Gay News

Steppenwolf to run 'Ms. Blakk' in May 2018-09-19 - Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company is replacing its previously announced production of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Wig Out! with the world premiere of Ms. Blakk ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.