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).