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John Guare

Author of Six Degrees of Separation

49+ Works 1,436 Members 21 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Born of Irish Catholic parents in New York City, Guare was an only child. His parents led intense but somewhat separate lives and young Guare found himself increasingly alone as he grew up. He spent his childhood reading, listening to albums of Broadway musicals, and writing plays. His first play show more was presented in a neighbor's garage when he was eleven. Guare first came to public attention with his one-act play Muzeeka (1968), a biting social satire about an ambitious man who works for a canned-music company that inflicts its banal arrangements on the entire country. The hero, Jack Argue, is a modern guilt-ridden "Everyman" who has sold himself out to the system. The play was first performed at Connecticut's Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre, then at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. On April 28, 1968, it opened off-Broadway at the Provincetown Playhouse on a double bill with Sam Shepard's Red Cross. Muzeeka ran for 65 performances and earned its author an Obie Award that year. The House of Blue Leaves (1971), Guare's first full-length play, is set in a Queens apartment on the day the Pope is making his first visit to New York City. A savage farce, The House of Blue Leaves presents an unrelenting attack on lower middle-class values. It shows the emptiness of the characters' inner lives and the horror of their senseless acts of violence. The play won both an Obie and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1971. In 1986 it enjoyed a highly successful revival at New York's Lincoln Center, which further established Guare as a unique and critically acclaimed American playwright. His more recent plays, such as Six Degrees of Separation (1990), show the playwright turning toward a more tragic outlook. Critics have been almost universal in their praise of Guare's screenplay for Louis Malle's film, Atlantic City (1981). Although not published in book form, the Canadian-French film has been distributed by Paramount in the United States. It is a bittersweet, Runyonesque tale about a small-time numbers runner, played by Burt Lancaster, and a small-town waitress, played by Susan Sarandon. Atlantic City received a number of honors, including best-screenplay awards by the National Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Society, and the New York Film Critics Circle. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Series

Works by John Guare

Six Degrees of Separation (1990) 584 copies
The House of Blue Leaves (1971) 207 copies
Landscape of the Body. (1978) 52 copies
Lydie Breeze (1656) 44 copies
Three Exposures (1982) 36 copies
Six Degrees of Separation [1993 film] (1990) — Screenwriter — 35 copies
Atlantic City [1981 film] (2002) — Screenwriter — 35 copies
Marco Polo Sings a Solo (1977) 24 copies
A Few Stout Individuals (2003) 24 copies
Bosoms & Neglect (1980) 23 copies
A Free Man of Color (2011) 16 copies
Gardenia (1982) 15 copies
Rich and Famous (1977) 14 copies
Orchards (1987) — Author — 12 copies
Muzeeka. (1968) 9 copies
Women and Water. (1990) 8 copies
Chaucer in Rome (2002) 4 copies
John Guare (1996) 3 copies
Two gentlemen of Verona [the musical] (1971) — Author — 3 copies
New York Actor 2 copies
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1973) — Adaptor; Lyricist — 2 copies
Cop-Out 1 copy
Home Fires 1 copy

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Reviews

I'm not a director, but if I were, this is the one play I would love to stage. "Six Degrees of Separation" is a meditation on trust and friendship, as we witness a group of disconnected characters caught up in one lie that grows and grows and grows. It's a portrait of lonely people, at heart, and asks where the line is drawn between true experience, and the coldness of living only for anecdotes. The dialogue is crisp and alternates between hilarity and tears. The film - with Will Smith and Stockard Channing - is greatly enjoyable, but I'd love to see it performed on stage with actors of the same calibre.… (more)
 
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therebelprince | 8 other reviews | Oct 24, 2023 |
Chiming in to add a positive review, to counteract a more negative one. (I have no problem with the negative one, mind you, its points are perfectly valid - but not my opinion.)

I adore Guare's work, his dialogue, his sense of character. This play doesn't work all that well on the page. It really needs to be performed by three very game actors, because so much of it is deliberately swirling, monologue based, and ultimately all in the moments between lines as much as the lines themselves. I fell in love with this play when I first read it, and plan to direct it one day.… (more)
 
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therebelprince | 1 other review | Oct 24, 2023 |
An uptown New York couple take in a young black man for the night when he's mugged as he tells them that he is both a friend of their children and the son of Sydney Poitier.

Not sure I got everything going on in this play but it was entertaining listening.
 
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MickyFine | 8 other reviews | Aug 15, 2020 |
Part of my Theatre Reference collection. One of the lovely things about Guare is that he's so readable. Dark, funny.
And of course, this volume gives original production cast/crew lists. Joel Grey, Sigourney Weaver, Piper Laurie,James Belushi, Dana Reeve... Amazing actors who believed in these shows.
 
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DeborahJ2016 | Oct 26, 2016 |

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Works
49
Also by
10
Members
1,436
Popularity
#17,914
Rating
3.8
Reviews
21
ISBNs
82
Languages
3
Favorited
3

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