The House of Blue Leaves Essay

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Simon reviews a 1986 production and finds that Guare's play retains much of its irreverent and absurdist power. The critic reserves particular praise for the trio of actors essaying the lead roles.

When John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves sprouted here in 1971, the theater of the absurd still enjoyed an American afterlife; Guare, moreover, was able to crossbreed American madcap farce with imported absurdism, as if Ionesco had collaborated with George Abbott. And he could introduce bits of true poignance into a blend that, even if it did not quite come off, offered, along with withering ironies and wistful clowning, passages of pure whimsy. A fair portion of this survives in the perky revival Jerry Zaks has mounted for the Lincoln Center Theater, although some timeliness, surprise, and bite are, perhaps inevitably, gone.

The basic situation is delightfully painful: A zookeeper, Artie Shaughnessy, pursues his dream of becoming...

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This section contains 609 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The House of Blue Leaves Study Guide
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The House of Blue Leaves from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.