UMB Performance Art’s Department performs “The House of Blue Leaves”

Amy Julian

A zookeeper, a GI soldier and three nuns walk into a room-and proceed to put on a hilarious show. The UMass Boston Performance Arts department will be performing John Guare’s 1971 hit, “The House of Blue Leaves,” starting April 17, right here on campus. Under the direction of Michael Fennimore, students will be able to showcase what they’ve been working on all year for friends and family.

Corresponding quite well with the Pope’s arrival in the States, “The House of Blue Leaves” is set in 1965 New York, with all events occurring surrounding the arrival of the Pope. Pretty soon, scandal erupts and hilarity ensues in this dark comedy that is a scathing commentary on the social and political state of America during the late sixties. What’s funny is that many of the themes in the play, including racial tension, war and corruption, are strikingly similar to the current state of affairs in 2008.

Freshman Chris Spencer, a music major, plays the lead character, Artie Shaughnessy, a zookeeper who is trying to make it as a songwriter-without much avail. Coming from a theater background, Spencer says this show was definitely a new experience for him. “It was a lot of fun; it wasn’t like anything I had done before,” he says. “We put a lot into it, and I think people are going to love it.” Spencer’s costar, Laura Cahill, who plays Artie’s mistress, Bunny, agrees. “It’s been a lot of hours put into it, but it’s a been a great experience and opportunity, and I think people are really going to love it,” she gushes.

Director and UMB professor Michael Fennimore says he is most proud of his cast and what they have done to make the show their own. “The acting abilities of the cast have grown immeasurably and all the work put into the show, the costumes and set, are beautifully done.” Student Megan Phelps, who plays Artie’s schizophrenic wife, Bananas, echoes Fennimore’s sentiment: “we’re all growing and learning about ourselves together.”

Get ready for a night of laughter and fun with the UMB Performance Arts department’s production of “The House of Blue Leaves.” The show will be held in the McCormack Theatre, 2nd Floor, McCormack Building (which I admittedly never actually knew existed). Opening night of the show is Thursday, April 17, at 6:00 p.m., with shows on April 18 and 19 at 8:00 p.m., April 24 at 6:00 p.m., April 25 and 26 at 8:00 p.m., with the final show on Sunday, April 27, at 2:00 p.m. Be sure not to miss this production and support your fellow students’ commitment and dedication to give you a great show. Fennimore urges students to get out and see the show and experience all of the humor and social commentary for themselves. “We are now ready for the student body to do their part and come and support the hard work that was put into this production,” he says. “They won’t be disappointed.”