“Six Degrees of Separation,” John Guare’s play about a young man who poses as Sidney Poitier’s son, will open Friday, Feb. 20, at Wake Forest University.
Directed by Wake Forest theater instructor Sharon Andrews, the University Theatre production runs through March 1.
“It is a very well-crafted play that has a lot to say about contemporary society,” says Andrews. “The play is also very fast and funny,” she says of the 90-minute production.
Based on a true story, the play presents the theory that no more than six intermediary links connect any two people in the world.
The story is told from the perspective of the Kittredges, a high-society New York couple (senior Shane Harris and senior Jenny Harrison). It begins when Paul, a young black man (junior Kyle Haden), arrives on their Fifth Avenue doorstep claiming he has been mugged. He identifies himself as a friend and classmate of their children at Harvard and proceeds to charm the couple and their guest (junior Drew Droege).
The Kittredges are completely taken in by the imposter. When they discover they have been conned, they become obsessed with finding out why Paul duped them.
“Six Degrees of Separation” was named best play of 1991 by the New York Drama Circle. In 1993, Guare adapted the play for a movie version starring Will Smith.
Guare also won a 1991 Obie Award for outstanding playwright. He had previously won an Obie Award for his 1968 play, “Muzeeka.” After Guare’s play, “House of Blue Leaves,” became a Broadway hit in 1971, he went on to win a Tony Award for his musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy, “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” In 1981, he wrote the script for the film, “Atlantic City.”
All performances begin at 8 p.m. on the Main Stage in Scales Fine Arts Center, except a March 1 matinee performance at 2 p.m. Tickets, available at the theater box office — (910) 758-5295 — are $10 for adults; $5 for students. The box office is open weekdays from 12-5:30 p.m.
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