One of those plays you might not get at first, you'll find you love at the end

By Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid
SGN A&E Writer

I understood that a scam, a very marvelous and evil scam, was being pulled off by this likeable young man, Paul (Joseph Mascorella), and I understood that the reason he was able to pull off such a terrible scam was because he found the 'soft spot' of his victims and used it. But the end confused me. Oh well, that didn't keep me from liking ReAct's 'Six Degrees of Separation', which opened last weekend at Richard Hugo House.

Meshing the lives of five well-to-do, but basically unhappy people, 'Degrees' could be seen as a modern parable, a piece that explores how people can seem to have everything material, but still be missing what is most basic. A purpose, something, or in this case, someone, who gives their lives meaning and a snese of worthiness. In this play, that someone would be Paul (Mascorella), a young man who enters first the lives of Ouisa and Flan (Eloisa Cardona and Dennis Kleinsmith), via a supposed mugging and stabbing. He does have a wound, and is oozing blood when he bursts into their New York brownstone, and the story he tells of being the son of Sidney Poitier is immediately believed by the couple, who want to help him. But after they return from a night out, to find Paul 'entertaining' a stranger he picked up on the street, things begin to unravel, and Paul is asked to leave, as is the hustler (Gordon Hendrickson).

We find that Paul has not only done this before, but find that the children of the other victims—a divorced doctor, and another well heeled couple (Curt Bolar, Jeffrey Wade Gilbert and Kathleen Ulrich)—all went to the same school and through a friend of theirs, Paul learned all he needed to know to con them all. Still, we wonder, why did they fall for this man's story, even as it is full of holes to us, the audience? And in that answer lies the gem within this play and the disturbing truth.

Go see it and figure it out, and believe me, you'll leave a little unsettled, but a little wiser. For ticket information, call 364-3283, or go online to

July 14, 2006


Six Degrees of Separation
Directed by David Hsieh
Starring: Eloisa Cardona, Dennis Kleinsmith, Jim Winkler, Joseph Mascorella, Gordon Hendrickson, Curt Bolar, Jeffrey Wade Gilbert, Kathleen Ulrich (and many more!)
Richard Hugo House
July 6-30th

© 206 Seattle Gay News. Reprinted with permission by ReAct.