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In “Six Degrees of Separation,” a Young Black Con Man Pretends to Be the Son of Actor Sidney Poitier

Lenore Field as Ouisa, David Sennett as Flan, and Alphonse Nicholson as Paul (photo courtesy Ghost & Spice Productions)

Ghost & Spice Productions of Chapel Hill, NC will present John Guare’s prize-winning 1990 play, Six Degrees of Separation, Oct. 8-9, 14-17, and 21-23 at Common Ground Theatre in Durham. The play, which will be directed by Common Ground managing director Rachel Klem, won the 1991 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the 1993 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play.

According to Dramatists Play Service, Inc.:

“Inspired by a true story [about con man David Hampton, who pretended to be the son of actor Sidney Poitier], the play follows the trail of a young black con man, Paul [Alphonse Nicholson], who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge [Lenore Field and David Sennett], claiming he knows their son at college. Paul tells them he is the son of actor Sidney Poitier, and that he has just been mugged and all his money is gone.

“Captivated by Paul’s intelligence and his fascinating conversation (and the possibility of appearing in a new Sidney Poitier movie), the Kittredges invite him to stay overnight. But in the morning they discover him in bed with a young male hustler from the streets, and the picture begins to change.

“After kicking him out, Ouisa and Flan discover that friends of theirs have had a similar run-in with the brash con artist. Intrigued, they turn detective and piece together the connections that gave Paul access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul’s cons unexpectedly lead him into darker territory and his lies begin to catch up with him. As the final events of the play unfold Ouisa suddenly finds herself caring for Paul, feeling that he gave them far more than he took and that her once idyllic life was not what it seemed to be….

“No subject is left untouched in this comic, fast-paced and affecting piece. The title refers to a statistical theory which states that any two people in the world can be connected through only six other people. The play is an examination of the threads of chance that link one person to another.”

Besides the three actors named about the cast for the current Ghost & Spice production of Six Degrees of Separation includes Mary Cates, Aaron Dunlap, Larry Evans, and Amanda Watson.

In reviewing a previous production of Six Degrees of Separation:

The New York Times wrote: “”Among the many remarkable aspects of Mr. Guare’s writing is the seamlessness of his imagery, characters and themes, as if this play had erupted from his own imagination in one perfect piece.”

Variety added: “Six Degrees is the best American play of the past several seasons, and will do hot business wherever it goes.”

New York Magazine called Six Degrees of Separation: “… cunningly executed, seemingly seamlessly joined, interlarded with clever one-liners, alternating comic situations with mildly disturbing ones…. Six Degrees of Separation is a play about everything, with something in it for everyone….”

Ghost & Spice Productions presents SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 and 14-16, 2 p.m. Oct. 17, 8 p.m. Oct. 21-23 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Road, Durham North Carolina 27705.

TICKETS: $16 ($14 students and seniors), except half-price Thursday on Oct. 14th and 21st.

BOX OFFICE: 888/239-9253 or





The Play: (Wikipedia), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Internet Movie Database).

The Playwright: (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Internet Movie Database).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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