By John Guare
Directed by Steve Scott
Produced by Eclipse Theatre Company
At the Greenhouse Theatre Center
Polished presentation of a terrific play is an ensemble success
Eclipse Theatre, under the tight direction by Steve Scott, has mounted a most intriguing and effective production of John Guare’s 1990 drama, Six Degrees of Separation. This slick play, inspired by a true story, focuses in themes of class, human connectedness, art and race. This play is relevant today as Internet social networks like Facebook and Myspace add to the connectedness of people in our shrinking world.
We meet Ouisa and Flan Kittredge (Karen Yates and Eric Leonard)–two upper class Manhattans devoted to money and art. They are fixated on getting two million dollars from their friend, South African businessman Geoffrey (John Milewski) when a knock on their door reveals an injured young man, Paul (Michael Pogue). The African-American claims to know their college age children. It seems Paul was attacked in Central Park. Claiming to to be the son of actor/director Sydney Poitier, Paul weaves his charm, charisma, and rich eloquence to easily win over the status and celebrity-oriented couple.
Paul is a slick, well-spoken con man who delights in pleasing and fitting-in with the foibles of the rich. When his con game gets discovered, the story get involved as several couples and their children are forced to come to terms with the fact that everything is not what it seems on the surface. Paul, their children, and their expectations do, indeed, form a human web that renders only six degrees of separation between all of us. Filled with humor, wit, intelligent discourse (especially about modern art), Six Degrees of Separation is an eloquent and sophisticated drama that will leave you thinking and debating the sincerity of Paul and the Kittredge’s. Is Paul a pure sociopath and con man or is he desperate to find a family to connect with? See this smart play and judge for yourself. How can Paul destroy innocent folks with any remorse?
Karen Yates, Eric Leonard and Michael Pogue led a fine cast of players peopled with many of the finest young talents in Chicago–such as Michael Gonring, Nick Horst, Laura Coover and Zach Gray. Michael Pogue’s work as the slick con man, Paul, anchors the show. This is a most engaging night of theatre.
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At the Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL