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Six Degrees of Separation
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Six Degrees of Separation

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  4,958 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
The extraordinary tragicomedy of race, class and manners.
Paperback, 136 pages
Published November 14th 1990 by Vintage
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L'immaginazione è il posto in cui tutti stiamo cercando di arrivare

Ho acquistato questo testo teatrale solo per un monologo. Sì, proprio così. Il protagonista, un impostore, si fa amare per le sue capacità dialettiche e avvince l'auditorio attraverso il più bel monologo sulla letteratura che io abbia mai letto in una storia. La sua tesi parte dall'analisi del libro Il giovane Holden e si conclude con Il signore degli anelli e lega l'idea della paralisi degli esseri umani a quella relativa alla m
Jun 29, 2011 Courtney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
I watched Catch Me If You Can and wanted to read this because this play is also about imposters. I am going to also read the true story of Clark Rockefeller called "The Man in the Rockefeller Suit." I can't really blame people for wanting to be different people. We are ingrained from birth to want to be different people by the ads on television and billboards saying "look like this." I know I get super uncomfortable sometimes in my role in life but I think I'm finally getting to a comfortable sp ...more
Feb 28, 2009 Peter added it
Shelves: tutoring
Sneaky! Trust and Deception, Wealth and Poverty, Friendship and Loneliness, Generosity and Greed—this play has a little of them all. But the way it moves through them feels a little unsettling, a little paranormal, like all the characters are floating around in the ether, and not in New York City. (But then again, good chunks of New York City really aren’t all that connected to reality.) In this play, the subject is mostly upper class, East-Side/West-Side Manhattan.

In Six Degrees of Separation,
Valerie Cunningham
Feb 02, 2015 Valerie Cunningham rated it did not like it
Shelves: play
I found the narrative style to be really interesting, but the actual story was terrible. All the characters were so stupid, and then the ending was just awful. At first I wanted to like it, but then there was so much language and sexual things that I completely lost all that I had like from the very beginning.
I had to dump someone whose only contribution to my newsfeed was that she was adding a new friend at least four times a day and by which time she had accumulated more than 1,000 on her way to that apparently much desired and exalted 5,000-friend limit imposed by Goodreads. This made me ponder the theoretical idea of what might constitute the ideal number of Goodreads friends. Then, I remembered this play and the concept implied in its title, and thought that perhaps the number might be 6.

I'm not
Aug 25, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read I liked how it was constant all the way through and how the stage directions faded in and out characters constantly jumping to each scene. Very much liked the style of writing
Michael McClain
Feb 01, 2017 Michael McClain rated it really liked it
I read Six Degrees of Separation in preparation for an upcoming Broadway revival starring Allison Janney as Ouisa, the role made famous by Stockard Channing, the character that leads us through this definitive experience she's just had and would love to tell us-the reader/audience-about it. In a New York City filled with people failing to listen or connect with each other, it's an unlikely pairing between Ouisa and Paul, the black, poor, gay con man who bamboozles his way into her family (along ...more
Oct 22, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Hysterical and tragic, all at once.
Christian Engler
Sep 19, 2013 Christian Engler rated it it was amazing
Based on the true story of a wealthy, well-meaning liberal couple in the upper echelons of New York society's upper crust, we have Flan or Flanders Kittredge and his wife Ouisa or Louisa; the former is a standoffish but deep down good-hearted art dealer in the private sector who has a penchant for the works of Kandinsky and Cezanne; the latter is his wife, articulate and intelligent who is in need of something of greater meaning and depth other than money, art, fancy restaurants and wealthy frie ...more
Margot Lammers
Jan 22, 2015 Margot Lammers rated it it was amazing
Second book of the year (I'm ashamed). 3 hours it took me to get through this play. It were the best 10 shekels I spend this week in a small bookstores in the Old Bus station in Tel Aviv.

Anyway, the book: basic setting: Imposture, A married couple, South Africa apartheid, children that are barely in the house, a stranger that is a friend of their children, race, sexuality, lies, money and all other possible sins that make God blush.

The story is simple, a couple gives a stranger that presents i
Ailin Li
Apr 05, 2015 Ailin Li rated it really liked it
Six Degrees of Separation is a comedic yet cynical exploration into the concepts of materialism, relationships, identity, and many more. The Peanut Gallery of characters with their snobby accents (at least, I imagine them with accents) and sheltered life have their worlds turned upside-down by a single man. Their air headedness is what makes their situation so amusing. Yet, the events of the play are not something to be laughed at. In the end, we understand that Paul is meant to represent those ...more
Julie Decker
Apr 22, 2014 Julie Decker rated it really liked it
Ouisa and Flan are spending an evening trying to sell their painting to a South African art dealer for a hefty sum when their party/business is crashed by Paul--a young man who seems to have been minorly wounded in a mugging. Paul has come to them because he claims he's heard about them from their children, with whom he attends classes at Harvard. Such good people they seemed like, by their children's estimation! Charmed and flattered, Ouisa and Flan feel compelled to help Paul, and maybe he eve ...more
Sep 03, 2008 Swankivy rated it really liked it
Six Degrees is a weird little play. The way the characters are directed to regularly speak to the audience to relay past events or what has transpired between scenes is really interesting--not only because that means they don't have to stage those moments, but because you can then hear the presentation of the ideas from the character's point of view (or, more often, the way it seems to the characters as they talk over each other to tell you what's going on). The character of Paul is captivating- ...more
Mike Scinto
Jul 21, 2015 Mike Scinto rated it it was ok
It's weird that two-stars on Goodreads = "it's ok." But, since that's the site's rating system, I'll follow it.

Basically, it's ok.

I didn't hate Six Degrees of Separation. I didn't particularly enjoy it, either. Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of reading plays, but nothing in the story really spoke to me, so I doubt I would have enjoyed it much if it had been a book.

That's really the crux of my rating. It didn't speak to me. Nothing I read made me think, "Oh well, that's profound," or "Hmmm, I
Feb 08, 2014 Manman821 rated it it was amazing
This play was amusing to no extent. It was simply insane, there is no better word for it. The beginning of this book is a bundle of confusion, the ending a culmination of the confusion that leads to a muddled action. You understand everything yet nothing.

The first time i read this, I didn't see any thematic merit, and I wondered how this book could possibly be considered classroom literature. But the thing is, I couldn't stop thinking about this book for hours after I read it initially. Faced w
Jan 19, 2016 Neil rated it it was amazing
This play is holding up well. The world still has its Ouisas and Flans, just waiting for a Paul to come along, and with the way that the gap between rich and poor continues to expand, if anything the story is even more relevant now than when it was written, with much to say about the awkward combination of liberal beliefs and a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption.

It's funny how the six degrees kind of took on a life of their own, a life that is very different from the arguments of the play. So
Jennifer Li
Aug 26, 2010 Jennifer Li rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've read this play at least 4 times because it truly sums up what life is: a series of hyperbolic stories that we tell each other: each exaggeration and inflated detail added to create some pale semblance of what it actually was like to live through experiences and emotions. The not-so-subtle undertones of white liberal guilt faced with underprivileged people of color are pretty farcical and funny too!

Ouisa: And we become these human jukeboxes spitting out these anecdotes to dine out on like we
Nicholas Montemarano
Mar 12, 2011 Nicholas Montemarano rated it it was amazing
Terrific play, sharp writing. I saw the film years ago and liked it. The play is funnier, more madcap, frantic, caffeinated. For a while I worried that it wouldn't move me, but in the end it really did. And perhaps the best thing about it is that I can't quite name the feelings it evokes and can't say exactly why it moves me. I have a feeling that this play will grow richer with multiple readings.

Favorite lines (from the character PAUL):

"The imagination says listen to me. I am your darkest voice
Sep 26, 2008 Becky rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Katie
Recommended to Becky by: Charlotte
This play is a mystery in a very unusual sense, and in a way that I appreciate very much. I love these characters and this story. And it came to me in a way that really befits it-- Katie mentioned the movie to me ages ago in vague but intriguing and memorable terms, and I was watching it on TV years later, and decided this had to be the movie she was talking about. And it was.

And I ended up reading the play because I finished the other book I was reading right before going out the door and didn
Sep 21, 2010 Sammy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, theatre
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 Stock ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Max rated it really liked it
Such a fun play to read. Great language, great class satire, and rich in details in humor.

Some of it feels slightly dated now (a live-action movie version of Cats doesn’t quite have the punch it might have 20 years ago) but the way the children talk in their over-the-top rebellious ways, and the way Paul works to hustle everyone on the upper west side; it’s entertaining and psychologically compelling.

Interesting staging too, and a good lesson in how to keep everything moving and corralled at th
Dec 13, 2011 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: satire, play, school
I read this for school. In a day. And whereas the concept of six degrees of separation was not a new concept to me, I absolutely love how it played into this book - in a much more subtle way than I first assumed it would be done. I loved the story, it was cute and heartwrenching a full of pure human nature. It wasn't all lovey-dovey nor was it all nitty-gritty. It was pretty awesome, I can't wait for our class discussion.
Mar 07, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
P retty quick read, play. I can see how it would be very funny for the audience.
It now makes me wonder how the movie went. It's been so long, I can't remeber. But I can see Paul is actually quite brillient, being able to adapt so quickly into these people's Friend, and mentioning how he knew their children. The gay twist was a suprise, but this was written in the early 90's so it shouldn't have, I guess.
A good story tho. Amazing how trusting these affluent families were, from the beginning.
Apr 20, 2013 Lisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: entertainment
I read this because it is a "classic". It is extremely short and promoted as "deep". It was okay. I saw it as a cynical, sad, slightly disturbing take on society. A period piece where little telephone communication and a small-town knowing one's family are tools. The flaws in society come to light in the importance of perception, trust, greed, anger and gullibility of people. It seemed to cast everyone in their worst light. This makes even a short book feel long in review.
Aug 06, 2012 Stuart rated it it was amazing
This is, in my opinion, the best play of 90's and one of the greatest American plays of all time. Fast-paced, lyrical, funny and touching, this play has everything you want in a good drama: interesting characters, an intriguing premise, and it's all less than two hours to boot. Intelligent and unapologetic while still being compassionate, it's Guare's masterpiece and a must for any lover of American theater.
Sep 07, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
This play will be on my Grade 10 reading list for Independent Study this term to pair with a reading of Othello. It does have some adult content/scenes including a naked prostitute running off stage, but it's a great play for students to discuss race, equality, priviledge and LBGTQ issues. The pace of the play is quick and I love how the characters speak directly to the audience throughout (as it is a nice parallel to Shakespeare's asides with Iago in Othello).
Aug 20, 2015 J.E. rated it liked it
Paul: I was so happy. I wanted to add sex to it. Don't you do that?
Ouisa: No.
Paul: I'll be treated with care if you take me to the police. If they don't know you're special, they kill you.
Ouisa: I don't think they kill you.
Paul: Mrs. Louisa Kittredge, I am black.

This play is 25 years old, but it holds up well.
Dec 27, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing
At first, I had no idea how to tackle this. The style is a little unusual, but not impossible to understand. Once I got the swing of it I felt a good deal of interest in these characters. Some come and go, but all are given a likeable appeal to them. The ending is one of the best endings I have ever read. It's a fascinating story, that moves at a good pace. I highly recommend it.
Oct 16, 2012 Benny rated it liked it
I haven't seen the film or the play performed, which leads me to believe that I'm missing out. It was a fun play to read, lots of funny blasts at the wealthy and "cultured." I have a hard time explaining what I didn't like about it, but it seemed to lack something I can't put my finger on. Overall, it was fun. I recommended it, particularly if you're one who likes reading modern plays.
Apr 29, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theatre
A beautiful, captivating story, told in a beautiful, captivating way. I fell in love with the movie & decided to read the play; turns out the text is pretty much identical, but of course, it's a very different experience to read it. This is such a wordy play - I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of it now.
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“I believe that the imagination is the passport we create to take us into the real world. I believe the imagination is another phrase for what is most uniquely us.” 44 likes
“The imagination says listen to me. I am your darkest voice. I am your 4 a.m. voice. I am the voice that wakes you up and says this is what I'm afraid of. Do not listen to me at your peril.... The imagination is not our escape. On the contrary, the imagination is the place we are all trying to get to.” 27 likes
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