Metro State’s Theater Underground and Minneapolis Community & State College (MCTC) performed a moving rendition of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation.
It was the first co-production between the two schools. Many cast members had performed in previous plays at MCTC, including Waiting for Lefty, The Madwoman of Chaillott, The Thirty-Nine Steps, and last fall’s The Whale.
After weeks of rehearsals, the bare, black stage was colorfully transformed into the scene for the one-act play, and the actors were molded into a cohesive collective.
A model for the stage was displayed on the first floor in the lobby of Fine Arts building by Scenic Designer Kirby Moore, who is also credited as a scenic artist for Purple Rain and Invaders from Mars. Other professionals included Kevin Champion as the sound board operator, who worked on Crimes of the Heart, and Robb Hollyday (construction)—Intimate Apparel and The Thirty-Nine Steps.
The actors, backed by experienced crew members, projected an enrapturing performance that kept the audience engaged.
Six degrees of separation is a theory that suggests that everyone is connected to everyone else through a “chain of friends.” The notion was made popular in 1990 by playwright John Guare in his treatment of the title play.
It is a tale of several rich families and a struggling young couple who are scammed into giving money and shelter to a confidence man. The con man, Paul, is coached by a rich art dealer’s (Flan) son. Other siblings in the families have their own dysfunctions within their respective families.
At center stage was a screen on which was projected, on cue, various elements of the play—the art collection of the character Flan, portrayed by veteran actor Edwin Strout, and the solo performances by Dorian Lucas.
Dorian showed remarkable versatility as a character actor with his onstage performance, and as an actor for the camera.
Six Degrees of Separation was well directed by Gail Smogard. It ran for several nights from Wednesday February 17, to Saturday evening at 7 p.m., with a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday February 20.
Admission was free and it made for a well spent night of light entertainment.