The House of Blue Leaves

by John Guare

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Read August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death (1901) and Georges Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear (1907)—two plays that inspired Guare while writing The House of Blue Leaves. How do these plays and their themes relate to The House of Blue Leaves?

Research absurdist theater, including plays like Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs. What aspects of The House of Blue Leaves are absurdist? What do these elements add to the play and its meaning?

How were mentally ill people such as Bananas Shaughnessy treated in the mid-1960s? Is the portrayal of her care at home accurate?

Research the events of October 4, 1965, the date that the play is set. Include information on the Pope’s visit to New York City. What do these events say about society?

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