Many authors go to great lengths to explore the limits of human experience, testing realms beyond the imagination. Anything from physical boundaries to social boundaries are broken and thus redefined; Kafka explores the life of a man turned into a bug, Nabokov examines the life of a man ruled by a sexual desire that is taboo. With so much effort focused on the extremes of life, one work, a play by John Guare entitled Six Degrees of Separation, stands out. Certainly, the events are extraordinary; based on a true story, Six Degrees is the tale of a young con man, professing to be the son of Sidney Poitier, and his effect on the lives of several New York socialites. Paul is the Eliza Doolittle of the modern age, adopting all the skills, stories, and styles that make him the perfect houseguest. Paul's charisma ensures that at every encounter, his presence leaves its mark. One broke and broken young man named Rick, after losing his last dime and last shred of dignity to an encounter with Paul, throws himself from his third floor tenement apartment. From the way that the New Yorkers speak of their experiences with Paul, one would think that Guare has crafted yet another story exploring the range of human experience, probing the impact and significance of encounters among friends and strangers. However, as much as some incidents, such as Rick's suicide, suggest the extreme and most violent ends of the interaction, Guare's play leads us down a too familiar path to a rather harrowing conclusion: that the most unnerving edge of human experience is not, in fact, the most extreme and violent, but the most common and natural to human nature. Guare's play is peopled with characters ...
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...e to present ourselves and have some hand in our own destiny, we are paralyzed. As Paul says, the end of Waiting for Godot is "Let's go. Yes, let's. They do not move" (25). At the end of the play, Ouisa is about to go to Sotheby's, but then pauses to watch Paul in her own mind. The lights go down as she remains on stage. Ouisa is not saved, and in the end we must doubt that she will find momentum enough to collect the substance that is required to have a life. Instead of moving into a life of meaning, she will float to Sotheby's, with a drink in hand and an urbane smile. One can picture the unwritten end to follow, Ouisa at Sotheby's "We had the strangest call tonight, that imposter that came into our lives, and you know, I had such a revelation about our lives . . ."
 John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation. New York: Dramatist's Play Service, 1992.
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