John Guare

John Guare (gwâr), 1938–, American playwright, b. New York City; grad. Georgetown Univ. (B.A., 1960), Yale Univ. (M.F.A., 1963). Guare's freewheeling, satirical plays are the antithesis of "kitchen sink" naturalism, with darkly comic situations sometimes veering into violence. Frequently dealing with family relationships and people seeking escape from their daily lives, they flout dramatic conventions with such devices as monologues, asides, songs, and pantomime. Early works include the off-Broadway Muzeeka (1968) and the popular semiautobiographical The House of Blue Leaves (1971). He scored his biggest hit with Six Degrees of Separation (1990), a tragicomedy about the havoc wrought on an upper-class family by a charming young con artist; the play explores issues of manners, class, and race. Guare also wrote the screenplay for the 1993 screen version and for Louis Malle's film Atlantic City (1980). Among Guare's other plays are Landscape of the Body (1977); a trilogy dealing with a 19th-century Nantucket family—Lydie Breeze (1982), Gardenia (1982), and Women and Water (1990)—and Lake Hollywood (1999).

See study by G. A. Plunka (2002).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

John Guare: A Research and Production Sourcebook
Jane Kathleen Curry.
Greenwood Press, 2002
The Black Comedy of John Guare
Gene A. Plunka.
University of Delaware Press, 2002
Contemporary American Playwrights
Christopher Bigsby.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "John Guare"
Drawing upon the Past: Classical Theatre in the Contemporary American Theatre
Robert J. Andreach.
Peter Lang, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "John Guare"
Modern American Drama, 1945-2000
C. W. E. Bigsby.
Cambridge University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "John Guare" begins on p. 380
A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights
John L. DiGaetani.
Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "John Guare" begins on p. 105
Chaos and Other Muses
Martin, Nicholas.
American Theatre, Vol. 16, No. 4, April 1999
Freud and the Psychology of Neurosis: John Guare's Bosoms and Neglect
Plunka, Gene A.
Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2000
Plotting Political Personhood: Literary Self-Making and Contract-Breaking
Gillan, Jennifer.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 35, No. 3, September 2002
Creating the Self in the Contemporary American Theatre
Robert J. Andreach.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "On the Eve of the Millennium"
Video Versions: Film Adaptations of Plays on Video
Thomas L. Erskine; James M. Welsh; John C. Tibbetts; Tony Williams.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Six Degrees of Separation ( 1990)" begins on p. 316
The Psychology of Mature Spirituality: Integrity, Wisdom, Transcendence
Polly Young-Eisendrath; Melvin E. Miller.
Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Guare¿s 'Six Degrees of Separation' begins on p. 316
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