September 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Work already underway for SGA speaker Sïonan Barrett -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

UMass in for a challenge against Penn State, QB Hackenberg -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nostalgia and angst abound in ‘Palo Alto’ -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Want student power? End the SGA -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

UMass football kicking situation still undecided, looking forward to opportunity to play at Beaver Stadium -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lorenzo Woodley finds opportunity after getting lost in the shuffle -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Millennials’ votes can make a difference in all elections -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

UMass faculty member Bonnie Strickland recognized for work in psychology -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

UMass women’s soccer suffers major set back with injury to co-captain Jackie Bruno -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

UMass men’s soccer returns home looking for season’s first win -

Thursday, September 18, 2014

UMass professor Elizabeth Chilton to speak in Madrid and Paris about importance of heritage studies -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

UMass club rugby hopes to continue momentum despite opening loss -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bizarre foods eaten worldwide -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

US should spend more on space -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walking through a week of practice with UMass field hockey -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

UMass receives $37.5 million for environmental and sustainability initiatives -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Irish coffee recipe -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To fight ISIS, US must understand them, not chalk up actions to pure evil -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

UMass tennis is reloading, not rebuilding in 2014 -

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fast food workers need more than $7.25 to sustain basic living -

Wednesday, September 17, 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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