THE STORY: Inspired by a true story, the play follows the trail of a young black con man, Paul, who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge, claiming he knows their son at college. Paul tells them he is the son of actor Sidney Poitier, and that he has just been mugged and all his money is gone. Captivated by Paul’s intelligence and his fascinating conversation (and the possibility of appearing in a new Sidney Poitier movie), the Kittredges invite him to stay overnight. But in the morning they discover him in bed with a young male hustler from the streets, and the picture begins to change. After kicking him out, Ouisa and Flan discover that friends of theirs have had a similar run-in with the brash con artist. Intrigued, they turn detective and piece together the connections that gave Paul access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul’s cons unexpectedly lead him into darker territory and his lies begin to catch up with him. As the final events of the play unfold Ouisa suddenly finds herself caring for Paul, feeling that he gave them far more than he took and that her once idyllic life was not what it seemed to be.
Winner of the 1993 Olivier Award for Best Play and the 1991 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.
No subject is left untouched in this comic, fast-paced and affecting piece. The title refers to a statistical theory which states that any two people in the world can be connected through only six other people. The play is an examination of the threads of chance that link one person to another.
“Among the many remarkable aspects of Mr. Guare’s writing is the seamlessness of his imagery, characters and themes, as if this play had erupted from his own imagination in one perfect piece.” —The New York Times.
“SIX DEGREES is the best American play of the past several seasons, and will do hot business wherever it goes.” —Variety.
“…cunningly executed, seemingly seamlessly joined, interlarded with clever one-liners, alternating comic situations with mildly disturbing ones…SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION is a play about everything, with something in it for everyone…” —New York Magazine.