Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Six Degrees of Separation
Aside from the few very minor late entrances and missed queues which are inevitable at a first preview, this unexpectedly large cast performed like a well oiled machine. The modern set (kudos Mark Wendland) was intriguing especially when i sat off to the side at the end. The two sided Kandinsky painting was a magical centerpiece, rotating high above.
Allison Janey (Ouisa) mastered the script with aplomb and seemed to be the perfect fit for the intelligent, slightly overbearing, and confidently funny and sarcastic wife. John Benjamin Hickey (Flan) seemed to exude art-dealer and all the eccentricities that go along with that job. Corey Hawkins (Paul) seemed to be born to play the role of con-man - devilishly handsome and debonair, intelligent, well spoken, and slick as all heck. What I didn't really expect were the neighbors, the neighbors children and a few others like a doorman, and a police officer to fill the cast to such a degree. For a 3 person play, the cast of 18 filled the stage occasionally.
Trip Cullman's direction seemed to embrace the large stage and use it effectively - keeping the back area a bit fuzzy and unclear which fit the mood perfectly. Deconstructed in a large Broadway house but not too deconstructed as to be barren.
So what did I think? It was a bit confusing to follow at times - dialogue is snappy and crisp and if the actors speak over a laugh you might miss a few lines. This will resolve over time for sure. The full frontal nudity may turn a few people off (certainly not me in any way) - I don't know what the script requires vs what the director interprets. I was mostly surprised that I really wasn't going to experience a direct "Six Degrees of Separation" - like a trail of person 1 connected to person 2 connected to person 3 etc.... but more the general concept about strangers and how they can be inter-twined in our lives and connected to our friends and we don't even know it- or them - sometimes until it's too late - or sometimes we never really know what happens at all. I was struck that the central lines of the play fit the concept but not exactly what was happening on the stage. I guess I am a very linear thinker.
"I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation. Between us and everybody else on this planet. The president of the United States. A gondolier in Venice. fill in the names. I find that A) tremendously comforting that we're so close and B) like Chinese water torture that we're so close. Because you have to find the right six people to make the connection. It's not just big names. It's anyone. A native in a rain forest. A Tierra del Fuegan. An Eskimo. I am bound to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people. It's a profound thought. How Paul found us. How to find the man whose son he pretends to be. Or perhaps is his son, although I doubt it. How every person is a new door, opening up into other worlds. Six degrees of separation between me and everyone else on this planet. But to find the right six people...