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John Guare Biography

(1938?), The House of Blue Leaves, Landscape of the Body, Lydle Breeze, Gardenia

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Francis Edward Grainger Biography to Thomas Anstey Guthrie Biography

American playwright, born in Manhattan, educated at Georgetown University and at Yale. Much of Guare's work revolves around themes of family and success. His writing is recognized for its dark humour and his seemingly paradoxical romanticism. Among his best-known plays is The House of Blue Leaves (1971), the story of a would-be songwriter and his disastrous relationship with his family. Landscape of the Body (1978) relates events when Betty Yearn visits Greenwich Village to rescue her sister from life as a porn actress. In Lydle Breeze (1982) and Gardenia (1986), Guare uncharacteristically leaves the milieu of the present day for the post-American Civil War period. Six Degrees of Separation (1990; New York Drama Critics Award) is based on an incident in 1983 when a young con artist posed as Sidney Poitier and robbed various wealthy New Yorkers; Guare wrote the screenplay for the film of 1993. In addition to other screenplays such as Taking off (1971), in collaboration with Milos Forman and Jean-Claude Carrière, and Atlantic City (1981), Guare has also written musicals including Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971).

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