The Old Vic opened its doors once again to the Association of American Correspondents in London on Feb. 16 and brought back a piece of home. The theatre’s revival of John Guare’s classic Six Degrees of Separation, set in Manhattan’s Upper East Side during the recession of the late 1980s, explores a host of social and economic issues that remain familiar today.
Credit crunch. Asset valuation. Race, status, identity. In the end everything and everyone is connected, as the play draws the lines from a Boston hustler to New York’s upper crust. The British actors, led by Obi Abili as Paul, Lesley Manville as Ouisa and Anthony Head as Flan, seemed to effortlessly step into their American roles. In the theatre’s rehearsal room after the production, they discussed their time spent in New York’s tony drawing rooms researching their characters, how they were drawn into the production and their pronunciation struggles — particularly with the letter R in words like water.
Our time at the theatre provided a rare window into the hard work that goes into mounting an acclaimed play, in addition to being a flat-out good time. Its theme of connection is particularly appropriate for the AACL, as we work to build sources in London, one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world. No matter who it is you need to get, remember, they are just six steps away.