“Karel,” from “3 Kinds of Exile,” a new play by John Guare

THE ACTOR appears and talks directly to us:

This is a story that a friend of mine told to me a few years ago. I was sitting in his house in England. I was going through some personal troubles and a solution to them stymied me. I brought my bag of woes to him.

He listened and then said “Let me tell you something that might have relevance to you.” He poured a drink. The afternoon light came in. And this is what he told me.

My friend was in his late twenties in the early 1950s. At that time, my friend found himself covered with a rash that was extraordinarily uncomfortable. It had begun as a small itch as if a gnat had bitten and left its teeth. The itch grew. He thought it must have come from wool in his underpants, his undershirt. He switched to cotton. The itching continued. The itching now a bright red rash spread down his legs and up his chest. At first he felt his body was blushing. He looked down and watched the crimson spread. In some weird variation on Kafka, was he turning into a tomato? He felt like an Easter egg someone had dipped into fuchsia. He felt like a tropical flower out of Gaugin. He felt his body was the red of anger. But anger over what? He had graduated successfully from Oxford. He worked successfully, even happily, for an international manufacturing company. Yes, he was happy. He was healthy. He was successful. The rash now reached the bottom of his feet.


Read more in Little Star Weekly

John Guare’s new play, 3 Kinds of Exile, will open at the Atlantic Theater Company on May 15, with the playwright in the role of The Playwright.

Guare’s plays include A Free Man of Color, Lydie Breeze, The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, Landscape of the Body, and Two Gentlemen of Verona.


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