The House of Blue Leaves

ISBN: 0573610282
ISBN 13: 9780573610288
By: John Guare

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About this book

This poignant Obie Award-winning comedy unfolds in New York City on the day the Pope is expected to visit. Hearts are palpitating in the sleepy borough of Queens, but not entirely on account of His Holiness. Bunny Flingus, a femme-fatale from Flushing (or thereabouts) is stirring things up in the quiet, unfulfilled life of aspiring songwriter Artie Shaughnessy. Artie longs to leave his unhappy marriage, elope with Bunny, and write a hit song that will top the charts.

Reader's Thoughts


I read this as I was revising my play from last year and I found a lot of similarities: farcical tone, monologuing, lust for some sort of fame, and from a review of the 85 production a comparison to DAY OF THE LOCUST. Really well done and fun to read.


Sad and crazy. A lot of wonderful images.

Tracy Morton

I shall add Bananas to the list of characters that I would like to play. A dark comedy.


I was in a production of House of Blue Leaves in college (around 1990, I think). I played one of the nuns. Our guest artist for that semester was David Lander (Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley), who played the lead. What a great experience. I really love this play.


THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES. (1966). John Guare. ***.This is a play from the period where “black comedy” was all the rage. It is a combination of a slapstick comedy and a serio-comic look at dreams and how to make them come true. It is set in Queens, NY, at the apartment of Artie and his wife, Bananas. Artie has his current girlfriend, Bunny, with him. They plan to run off to California and get married – once, of course, he manages to get divorced from Bananas. She is obviously mentally off balance, and Artie can barely manage to put up with her moods. Bunny suggests that he send her back to the bug house as one option. Artie’s son Ronnie is also present. He is in training at Fort Dix, but has gone AWOL in order to come home to see the arrival of the Pope, who has come to address the UN. His real objective, though, is to get into Yankee Stadium disguised as an altar boy and blow up the Pope. It’s a blend of mad-cap comedy and serious issues that kind of mix to the point of some success. If it doesn’t make sense to you, don’t feel bad. It was a product of the times.

Steven Felicelli

Six Degrees of Separation is a heady, moving (if somewhat contrived) dramaeverything else Guare has done is pretty shabby in comparison


So I decided to read this play because first I heard that they were doing a revival on Broadway with Jennifer Jason Leigh and then I was listening to a podcast where they mentioned that John Mahoney had won a Tony in the 80s and when I looked it up it was for this play...and this all happened within a week, so I thought that's coincidence. And they had the play in University's Library where I I checked it out. I was not expecting something quite so impressionistic. I really like the author's foreword, but then never really felt that the play reached the incisiveness of that five page essay.


I designed the costumes for our sarah lawrence production. twas awsome.


I like this play. It's odd and sad and funny. another one of my "weird and beautiful" selections, I suppose. It's a little hard to just read, though. It's one of those plays which is much better on its feet and being performed than it is laying on the page.Unlike most of the other scripts on my Goodreads account, I have never been a part of a production of this. I've seen it and I've had a couple of girlfriends who have played Bananas, but not me. Maybe someday.


After The Six Degrees of Separation this was a major disappointment. This lack focus and narrative which is all around. Characters appear just without no apparent reason - or at least I didn't get it - and structure meanders without a point. It seems like Guare has forced a lot of his real-life experiences into the play without realizing that they don't seem to fit together. So the whole narrative feels disjointed. The characters do have they motivations - basically fame or need for an acceptance - but the play never really resolves those issues and it kind of changes directions half-way through. It starts as a dramatic comedy and turns into a chaos which works on a strindbergian dream logic where nothing makes sense. People don't act like they should, it's all about the idea which, unfortunately, is lost under the chaos. I belive I know what Guare wants to say - life's here and now, not always somewhere else - but I can't understand it emotionally through the characters. Would've liked to like this more but couldn't.


one of absolute favorite plays. unusual and layered characters.

Angie Fiedler Sutton

Very bizarre play - I didn't care for it. Too odd - even for me.


I hated not liking this play, but I just don't think it's held up well over the years. I didn't think it was funny, even though I knew the spots where Guare was going for laughs. I still think he's a genius, even though this one didn't do it for me.

Caleb Jenkins

Great play! Artie longs to leave his unhappy marriage, elope with Bunny, and write a hit song that will top the charts.

Brandon Leighton

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I hadn't read this play, even while a theatre major in college. Though it is over forty years old, it is still relevant : The American obsession with fame is even more out of control today than it was when this play was first staged. It is a great script with well-drawn characters. I'm sorry I waited so long to read it.

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