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Montgomery Playhouse Six Degrees of Separation

By • Mar 6th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Montgomery Playhouse’s production of Six Degrees of Separation [MP3 6:50 3.1MB].

Six Degrees of Separation
Montgomery Playhouse
Asbury Methodist Village Rosborough Center, Gaithersburg, MD
$14/$12 Seniors and Students
Through March 16th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of Six Degrees of Separation, performed by the Montgomery Playhouse at the Asbury United Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mike and I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon, March 2nd, 2008.

Mike: This was a confusing show. I didn’t quite get it until about the last ten minutes when Ouisa started expounding upon the meaning of life and some of her fears and thoughts about what she should be doing with her life. Up until then it was just kind of a dragging show of coincidence and some humor and frustrations. It was a different type of show.

Laura: This was a deep show and it did make me think. The first hour I was trying to figure out what was going on. Once I realized who Paul was and his relationship with Ouisa and her family, it was kind of a bittersweet ending. I enjoyed the last ten minutes. I thought they were very deep and helped make the first part of the show make a lot more sense.

Mike: Six Degrees of Separation is a play by John Guare. 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. Inspired by a true story, it follows the trail of a young black con man who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple by claiming he knows their son at college. By telling them he is the son of actor Sidney Poitier and that he has just lost all his money in a mugging, he is invited to stay overnight in their home. It alternates comic situations with mildly disturbing ones. It is a play about everything with something in it for everyone.

Laura: Ouisa Kittridge was played by Lori Sampson. She did a very good job in the role. She was very sympathetic. It was obvious that she did not have a good relationship with her own children. So when Paul came into the picture, she had someone she could kind of take under her wing and nurture.

Mike: Her husband, Flan, was played by Jim Epstein. He was also taken in a bit by Paul. I liked the part where he said, “What am I doing, offering you career advice?!” He could step away from Paula and that distance was the same distance he had with his children. Those scenes were very interesting. I wish they could have explored more of the relationships with their kids because the few scenes with the parents and the kids were very confrontational and accusatory. You couldn’t see the parents trying to have a relationship with the kids. I liked how Flan was very concerned about his privacy and his concern over the money they were going to get over a painting deal that he was working on. He seemed to be very much a realist. The scene at the end when he was talking to his daughter and having to get off the phone did underscore that relationship that they just did not have.

Laura: Paul, the con man who got taken in by Ouisa and Flan, was played by Phill Jenkins. He did a good job. It took me a little while to get into his character, especially his long five minute monologue there in the first half hour. I was wondering what the heck he was talking about. Later on as his character was more revealed as to how corrupt he was, I finally understood that he really was just trying to belong, yet he was afraid to get hurt. He had built up a pretty good wall around himself.

Mike: I didn’t quite buy that he really was sincere, at the end of the show. He was with Ouisa about reforming and all that. I kind of thought he was trying to scam her once more. Am I really a bad person like Flan was or am I seeing the truth? We don’t really ever find out. The closing minutes of the show was Ouisa telling us that they tried to find out who he really was and what happened, but they were never able to. That was an interesting point of reality versus the drama of the situation.

There were a lot of roles in this show and the smaller roles were played by a handful of actors. They were constantly running off stage, changing costumes and coming back on. For the most part, that was done very nicely. It did get a little wearing on the audience. For example near the end of the show, Rick and Elizabeth, a married couple played by PJ Mitchell and Arian Boroumand. It seemed like they were so concerned about getting off the stage so they could switch their clothing again, that the emotion of the scene they were doing got lost. At the end of the line, there wasn’t even a one second pause for us to take in what they were talking about. They were rushing to be off stage. That was a bit distracting from the quality of the show.

Laura: The set for Six Degrees of Separation was well done. The Set Designer was Joy Wyne. You had a couple different levels. It all took place in the living room of Ouisa and Flan’s apartment. Then you had a couple side areas that were used as subsets to the action going on on stage.

Mike: I did like that effect. The two side areas did not have any major prop pieces or scenery design. There was a sofa on one side that sometimes had a blanket over it. Otherwise it was just the people and the costumes defining what that area was. That was actually a very good idea. If you had to change the set for each of those scenes, it would have extended the show easily by ten to fifteen minutes.

Laura: There were a lot of costume changes in Six Degrees of Separation. Costumer was Cassandra Hoye. One interesting thing was there were so many people on the stage at different times and sometimes I got lost as to who was who, because thy did a good job with changing costumes and coming on as different people and even acting differently. But sometimes it was kind of hard to keep them straight.

Mike: Thy were not on stage long enough to really identify the character so you ended up having to think too much. You could not just accept the character as the character.

Laura: Six Degrees of Separation was approximately one hour and forty minutes with no intermission. It’s playing through March 16th, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday matinees on the 9th and 16th at 2 pm, at the Asbury United Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Mike: We’d like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can be informed with what’s happening in the DC region community theater.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

Photo Gallery

Jackson Dismukes and Jim Epstein; Lori Sampson and Alexandra Smith Nick Sampson, Phill Jenkins, Lori Sampson, Jim Epstein
Jackson Dismukes and Jim Epstein; Lori Sampson and Alexandra Smith
Nick Sampson, Phill Jenkins, Lori Sampson, Jim Epstein
Lori Sampson, David Jones, Mark Shullenbarger, Joy Gerst, Jim Epstein. Alexandra Smith, Pooja Chawla, PJ Mitchell - On couch
Lori Sampson, David Jones, Mark Shullenbarger, Joy Gerst, Jim Epstein. Alexandra Smith, Pooja Chawla, PJ Mitchell – On couch

Photos by Montgomery Playhouse Staff

Cast

  • Ouisa: Lori Sampson
  • Flan: Jim Epstein
  • Geoffrey: Nick Sampson
  • Paul: Phill Jenkins
  • Doorman: Daniel Stone
  • Hustler: Jackson Dismukes
  • Kitty: Joy Garrett
  • Larkin: Mark Shullenenbarger
  • Detective: Pooja Chawla
  • Woody: Jackson Dismukes
  • Tess: Alexandra Smith
  • Ben: PJ Mithell
  • Dr. Fine: David Jones
  • Policeman: Arian Boroumand
  • Deb: Pooja Chawla
  • Trent: Matt Datcher
  • Rick: PJ Mitchell
  • Elizabeth: Arian Boroumand

Crew

  • Producers: Amanda Marie Imhof, Paul Shoop
  • Directors: Amanda Marie Imhof, Paul Shoop
  • Stage Manager: Pat Brown
  • Set Design: Joy Wyne
  • Master Carpenter: Joy Wyne
  • Set Construction: Nancy Davis, Paul Shoop, Joy Wyne
  • Set Painting: Kay Coupe, Nancy Davis, Amanda Marie Imhof, Paul Shoop, Dave Willson, Joy Wyne
  • Lighting Design: April Weiner
  • Sound Design: Matt Datcher
  • Lighting Execution: Bruce Hirsch
  • Stage Crew: Susan Bahr, Kay Coupe, Melinda Fisher
  • Properties: Kay Coupe, Amanda Marie Imhof
  • Makeup: Joy Gerst
  • Set Dressing: Kay Coupe, Nancy Davis, Joy Wyne
  • Costumes: Cassandra Hoye
  • Photography: Kay Coupe
  • Program Art: Brian
  • Load-In Crew: Pat Brown, Brian Butters, Kay Coupe, Donna Dangle, Nancy Davis, Bill Fisher, Lisa Holland-Anderson, Amand Mari-Imhof, Bruce Imhof, David Jones, Paul Shoop, Alexandra Smith, April Weimer, Joy Wyne
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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