Village Voice 05.10.2017 : Page 54

56 May 10 -May 16, 2017 VILLAGE I settles. Over supper, he waxes romantic about his thesis’s concern with the death of imagination: “To face ourselves. That’s the hard thing. The imagination. That’s God’s gift to make the act of self-examination possible.” In a queer twist of delicious plotting, however, it quickly becomes apparent that Paul is not who he claims to be, and what follows for Ouisa in the wake of that A witty con-man classic picks revelation is precisely the work of diffi-apart bourgeois complacency cult, imaginative self-examination. The ultimately mysterious Paul blazes through the Kittredges’ lives like a BY JOSEPH CERMATORI meteor, vanishing almost as quickly as he arrived, but before he disappears he n John Guare’s celebrated comedy of illuminates a deep poverty within them, manners Six Degrees of Separation , gnawing away at the secure pillars and currently being revived on Broadway boundaries of their existence. in a vibrant new production directed More than a quarter-century after its by Trip Cullman, everything seems shot through with the possibility of transforma-premiere, the play feels newly critical in our current neo–Gilded Age, built on debts tion. Written and set in 1990, between the and speculation, hollow imaginations and fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apart-empty experiences. In the memorable heid, it depicts a rapidly changing world — monologue that gives the play its title, Ou-one hurtling forward in time even as it isa asks us to consider what connects us, appears outwardly stable. what separates us, and what we owe to one The play begins in a comfortable Upper another, questions that resonate afresh in East Side apartment, home to the well-off our present political climate. As an analy-Kittredges: private art dealer Flanders sis of the fault lines surrounding race in (John Benjamin Hickey) and strategic America, it also bristles today with a re-partner Louisa (Allison Janney). Prefer-newed urgency. When Paul faces arrest by ring the Waspy nicknames Flan and Ou-isa, the two make an endearing, somewhat the police, Ouisa tries to reassure him that they won’t kill him. His blunt response: ludicrous couple, almost drawn from the “Mrs. Louisa Kittredge, I am black.” pages of Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic . Sud-As Ouisa, Janney denly, a handsome young commands the stage black man named Paul with a calibrated mix-(Corey Hawkins) bursts in Six Degrees of Separation ture of poise, vulnera-at their door, a knife wound Ethel Barrymore Theatre bility, and bluntness. bleeding through his 243 West 47th Street Hawkins scintillates in Brooks Brothers shirt, and 212-239-6200 the role of Paul, lending their solid world’s the character a fiery in-Through July 16 tion begins to shake. tensity, occasionally to Paul tells the Kittredges a fault in the play’s first that he attends Harvard few scenes. In describing his undergradu-with their children, that he is the son of ate research on Salinger, he channels the Sidney Poitier, that he was mugged in history of black pulpit oratory, but some-Central Park, and that, in the kerfuffle, he times descends into a ranting register lost the only printed copy of his senior the-when he might otherwise use the lan-sis, a study of The Catcher in the Rye . It’s an guage to enact a more subtle seduction. unbelievable story, he admits, “in this age But Janney and Hawkins soon find their of mechanical reproduction,” but the stride together, and as the play reaches its Kittredges eat up every word, alongside a climax, they seize the rhythm of Guare’s delicious Mediterranean dinner Paul pre-drama like a pair of virtuoso musicians. pares in their kitchen once his bleeding Manhattan Mystery A Commedia dell ’ arte Folk Opera A romantic comedy about actors, young lovers and for kids & grown -ups GIOVANNI THE FEARLESS GIOVANNI … THE FEARLESS a couple of Ghosts! Book and Lyrics by Carolyn Balducci Music by Mira J. Lyrics Spektor by Carolyn Book & Directed by Lissa Moira Music Cristina Music Direction by Director Cristina Dinella a commedia dell ’ arte folk opera about actors, young lovers and … a couple of Ghosts! Music by Mira J. Spektor Projections by Bank Street Films Projections by Bank Street Choreography: by J. Alan Hanna Set Design by Marc Marcante & Lytza Colon Costume Design by Lytza Colon Lighting Design by William Geraldo Directed by Lissa Moira Dinella Balducci Films Eight family-friendly performances Cast: Amanda Alyse Thomas, Matt Angel, Kimberly Bechtold, Torian Brackett, Jef Canter*, Kareem Elsamadicy, Xi Lyu, Zen Mansley, Douglas McDonnell, Amelia Sasson, Matthew Serra, David F. Slone, Esq., and Amanda Yachechak. May 12, 13 & 14 -May 19, 20, & 21 Theater for the New City Eight family-friendly performances 155 First Avenue, NYC May 12, 13, 14 and May 19, 20, 21 Theater for the New City 155 First Avenue, NYC 212-868-4444 or call 212-868-4444 LIMITED ENGAGEMENT NOW THRU MAY 21 ONLY! THE YORK THEATRE COMPANY A NEW ROMANTIC MUSICAL COMEDY “EXTRAORDINARY! Good manners: Allison Janney (Ouisa) and Corey Hawkins (Paul) revive John Guare’s cutting social study. MUST-SEE musical theatre at its very best!” BOOK BY MUSIC BY JENNIFER ROBBINS DAN MARTIN LYRICS BY MICHAEL BIELLO DIRECTED & CHOREOGRAPHED BY BILL CASTELLINO ENTRANCE ON 54TH STREET JUST EAST OF LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY THE YORK THEATRE COMPANY | AT SAINT PETER’S YORKTHEATRE.ORG | (212) 935-5820 | #MARRYHARRY Joan Marcus

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