BORN in New York, NY, on February 5,
1938, John Guare knew very early that he wanted to be a playwright.
Inspired by the original Broadway production of Annie Get
Your Gun, Guare wrote his first play at the age of eleven.
A group of neighborhood kids performed the play in a friend's
garage, and the tiny production caught the attention of the local
newspaper which ran a story on the eleven-year-old playwright.
As a reward, the boy's parents bought him a typewriter, and he
never looked back.
Guare received a B.A. from Georgetown University (1960) and
an M.F.A. from Yale University (1963). In 1968 he won an Obie
Award for a one-act play, Muzeeka, but it was not until
1971 that Guare came to prominence with House of Blue Leaves,
a darkly comic attack on American values. It would be almost
two decades before the playwright scored another major hit with
Six Degrees of Separation (1990). Inspired by an article
in the New York Times about a con-artist who convinced
a group of wealthy individuals that he was Sidney Poitier's son,
Six Degrees enjoyed a run of 485 performances at
the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on Broadway and won numerous awards.
In a foreward to one of Guare's plays, Louis Malle writes:
"At a time when most plays and films have become glorified
sit-com television, Guare's grace and inventiveness with words,
his superb contempt for conventional psychology and plot coherence,
and his brilliance at tearing apart the logical and the expected
make him stand pretty much alone. He has been accused of self-indulgence,
of course, precisely because he cares to impose his original
voice, beyond artificial clarity, beyond sentimentality. Yet
he manages to report convincingly on the chaotic world we live
in. His work is a unique, indelicate balance between the tragic,
the funny, the weird, our daily bread."
Guare's plays disrupt the conventions of realistic theatre
with frequent asides, monologues, songs and mimes. He openly
despises "kitchen-sink" theatre in which everything
is "real" right down to the running-water that comes
out of the faucet. Therefore, he has developed his own unique
style of drama, pushing the theatre's boundaries because, as
he says, "I think the chaotic state of the world demands
This article was written by William J. Crabb
and originally published on this website on April 25, 2002.
- Search eBay! for John Guare collectibles