Saturday, September 22, 2007
Six Degrees of Separation
The heart of this revival of Six Degrees of Separation still beats strong, but it's clogged by some odd directorial choices that add absurdism to the opening, and prolong the farce too far into the drama. Some uneven acting (in a cast of 17) doesn't really help, and the play winds up a tame, pleasant production, rather than a sharp glimpse at our anonymous lives. Tom Wojtunik's direction is just a little too overzealous at times: he clearly knows how to focus the action (as with the spotlit asides) and the actors are never so open as when discussing loves like Kandinsky or Catcher in the Rye, but he seems to get overwhelmed by all the things happening. As a result, many of the characters--the children, detectives, Dr. Fine, and friends of the family--are awash in generic choices, which for a show that in part is about the death of imagination, makes the play less affecting than it should be. The center, Laura Heidinger's Ouisa and Richard Rioleau's Paul, have great moments together, but the big breakdown at the end is kept at a seventh degree of separation because of Wojtunik's choice to place phone callers in a recessed black box. Break the box: we must be more than anecdotal jukeboxes, and must not lose the experience.