November 28, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Stanley Andre reflects on his career as Senior Day approaches -

Thursday, November 27, 2014

UMass tight end Jean Sifrin mulls future, potential NFL career -

Thursday, November 27, 2014

UMass basketball trounces Northeastern 79-54 -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Students and staff discuss racial and social inequality following Ferguson decision -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UMass hockey falls to Vermont, 3-1 -

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No indictment for Ferguson cop -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chancellor addresses campus regarding grand jury decision in death of Michael Brown -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Northern Illinois hangs on against Ohio, Hunt carries Toledo to victory -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SGA passes 10 motions at meeting Monday night -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Students and UMPD work together during the annual ‘Walk for Light’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘Conscious Consumer’ talk promotes business sustainability -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass hockey looks to rebound against Vermont following Saturday’s blowout at home -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass women’s soccer’s Sverrisdóttir balances a soccer career between two different countries -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

‘First Demo’ provides a fascinating glimpse of Fugazi in its infancy -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My mental illness does define me (to an extent) -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to master multitasking -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One Direction hints at newfound sophistication on ‘Four’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TV on the Radio sounds rejuvenated on ‘Seeds’ -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass men’s club soccer fundraises its way to Memphis -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UMass hockey takes accountability and seeks redemption against Vermont on Tuesday -

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

“House of Blue Leaves” examines 1960s culture through darkly comic lens

A combination of dark humor and 1960s social commentary sets the tone for the story of “The House of Blue Leaves,” which is being put on by the University of Massachusetts’ UMass Theatre Guild. The show opened yesterday, and runs until Saturday. From bombs to beer-drinking nuns, “The House of Blue Leaves” gives a unique view into 1960s culture and the pursuit of a dream.

Justin Surgent/Collegian

The audience is given a day-long peek at crazy life of Central Park zookeeper and singer-songwriter Artie Shaughnessy. Plagued by his schizophrenic wife, Bananas, and his mistress, Bunny Flingus, Artie has big dreams of making it big in the Hollywood music scene. As fate may have it, this day in Queens, N.Y., in 1965 is destined for history. Not only is it the first time the Pope is coming to visit and speak in New York City, but it also marks the return of Artie’s son Ronnie, who went AWOL to avoid Vietnam. As the day progresses, more visitors pop in, prompting an unexpected adventure.

Originally written by John Gaure, “The House of Blue Leaves” premiered far from Broadway – in Waterford, Conn., in 1966. Since then, it has had three revivals, with the latest being in 2011 on Broadway with Ben Stiller playing as Artie, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Bunny and Edie Falco as Bananas.

Focusing on themes like celebrity obsession, religion and the trials of the struggling artist, “The House of Blue Leaves” holds as much merit today as it did in 1965.

Dan Squizzero, a junior theater and history double major at the University, directed the play. Acting since his sophomore year in high school, this is his fifth production with the Guild.

Squizzero said the play is an “interesting mix of comedy and drama,” and that “it pulls away the veil of the image of the classic American family.”

He also described the fight against time which the play faced in production.

“We only had a four week rehearsal process, which is unusually short for the Guild. Normally we’re more in the six-week range. So we had to do everything at a very quick pace, and fortunately the actors were able to focus and stay on top of things.”

Sophomore English major Ryan Marchant scored the lead role of struggling artist Artie Shaughnessy. A member of the UMass Theatre Guild for three semesters, Marchant has been acting since high school. Marchant describes the play as a “realistic approach to the nature of fame” with “potent themes.”

Christie Basinas took the role of Artie’s schizophrenic wife Bananas. A freshman sociology transfer from American University, this is Basinas’ first semester with the Guild.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot from playing Bananas,” said Basinas of her character. “She suffers from mental illness, but at the same time you get a nice perspective from her. Everyone else in the show is obsessed with fame, but the one character you think is lost in outer space is the only one who is actually on the ground.”

The role of Bunny Flingus, Artie’s mistress, is played by junior Erin Wholley. “The House of Blue Leaves” is her fourth show with the Guild, but Wholley has been acting since fifth grade. Wholley is studying theater at UMass.

The play, which opened last night, will also run tonight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m., as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are $6 for students and senior citizens and $10 for general admission. Tickets will be sold at the door, but they can also be bought in advance at the box office in the Fine Arts Center.

Justin Surgent can be reached at jsurgent@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to ““House of Blue Leaves” examines 1960s culture through darkly comic lens”
  1. Sean McNair says:

    Also, the show is at Bowker Auditorium in Stockbridge Hall, near the Campus Center Garage

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