Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation
On Broadway

Yes, not so long ago, the idea that everyone is connected to everyone else by a maximum of six other people, Six Degrees of Separation, hit Broadway and in fact, turned out to become an acclaimed Broadway hit. The play explored the premise of being at most six people away from someone famous. What's really amazing about the play is that it was based on the amazing true story, of impostor David Hampton, a teenager who in pursuit of the glamorous life in New York, passed himself off as Sidney Poitier's son and imposed on several affluent New Yorkers, pretending to be a friend or classmate of their children. Through this identity,

Six Links Rule

his intellect and charm, he managed to cadge free meals in restaurants as well as persuading at least a dozen people into letting him stay with them in their homes or to give him money. Can you believe this that the duped included Melanie Griffith; Calvin Klein; Jay Iselin, the president of public television station WNET and a Manhattan urologist.

Playwright John Guare heard about the con through his friendship with two of the duped hosts, Osborn Elliot, the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and his wife Inger. He was so fascinated with the amazing story that he penned the play, which he aptly called Six Degrees of Separation. Guare based the premise of his play on the actual incident and creates a view of a fragmented society in which those simple six degrees that bind people together are overlooked, blatantly ignored, and, very occasionally, celebrated. His play was hugely successful. It first opened off-Broadway on 8th November 1990 and was an immediate critical and popular success. Outstanding reviews and full houses with audiences lining up in the hope of ticket cancellations greatly extended the play's original ten-week run. Six Degrees of Separation went on to win the New York Critic Circle Award for Best Play of the Year and London's Olivier award, and to be nominated for a Tony Award.

I guess the original true story and the play based on it go to show how false links can easily sway our better judgement into believing there is a connection to someone when there actually isn't. It goes to show that no matter how smart you are or where you are on the social ladder, you have to be wary of those possible false links or connections to others. However, one could ask, even if this were to happen, is there a possible positive spin or outcome? Stay tuned.......

Credits:

  • Melanie Griffith at Cannes, 2000, image source: Wikipedia

6 Comments:

Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

The movie Six Degrees of Seperation was amazing, still one of my favorites.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Could not agree with you more anomie-atlanta....in fact I'm just in the middle of drafting a post on the movie now.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Cav said...

This is a great blog. I have always been fascinated by this topic and have figured out many connections just for fun. I will have to look for the movie and look forward to more great posts!

7:51 PM  
Blogger laughtokeepfromcrying said...

Adam,
I'm from the Southern United States and this concept is something we are born into and doesn't seem so strange, infact there's a movement afoot expressing the desire that the universal consciousness expand the degree of separation to atleast 10......lol

11:50 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Thanks for dropping in Cav and I'm sure you can tell that I, like you, am also fascinated by this topic. I'm learning heaps about it and have discovered some interesting things that through this blog I will share. There are many situations in life that make me think about this very topic and again in time I will share these. Hope you enjoy the movie...

6:44 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Interesting that you say "this concept is something we are born into and doesn't seem so strange" laughtokeepfromcrying and would really love to know what you mean by this. I'm also very interestred to hear more about the movement afoot that you speak of.

6:49 PM  

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