Posted by: Singapore/Fling 10:32 pm EDT 04/18/17
In reply to: SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION Last Night - sergius 10:08 pm EDT 04/18/17

I would say that the play is actually quite clear on that, at least to my reading. Paul is an outsider to the closed community of Ouisa and Flan, one that he, as a man of color, must lie his way into. Once he is among them, he proves that he fully belongs; yet, because he is not of the right parentage, he must be hunted down, exposed as a fraud, and outcast. Ouisa does her best to keep him in their world, but she fails, ultimately losing him to a police system that sees him as just another of the millions of black men who spend their lives in the prison industrial complex.

The play, from its outset, is one about contradictions and opposites, and it is about privilege. Ouisa and Flan may not feel that they live a life of great privilege (if anything, they feel as economically squeezed as the average upper middle class Trump voter, living "hand to mouth on a different plane"), but they do, and only when she sees how hard Paul fights to get in (quite literally wounding himself, the sacrifice of the black male body being one of the few ways that rich white America will accept him) does Ouisa understand how privileged she is.

She's right that there is a beauty in how we are connected - but she also sees that her web of connections is limited to a rarefied group of people, and that she is fairly well protected from the horrors of the world by her race and class. She ends the play asking the same questions you ask: what do I understand, what can I do about it?

She doesn't know, perhaps because the answer is "Nothing", and that is perhaps the most terrifying thought of all.

I would say that everything you're pointing out has always been in the play, and that Guare uses Goeffrey, the South African, to establish many of the larger questions about race, class, and colonialism that percolate through the rest of the evening.

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