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“The House of Blue Leaves” asks questions on mental illness

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December 4, 2015

When Jessi Marlow ‘16 was brainstorming ideas for the season’s featured Alpha Psi Omega production she finally decided that above all, she wanted to direct a show that was both topical and relevant to today’s audiences. She finally settled on a darker comedy that explores mental illness, which premieres on December 9 for a five-day run.

The House of Blue Leaves artfully tackles how we as a society view mental illness,” Marlow commented. “The script does an awesome job at tackling the bigger issues while also still allowing for some humor.”

The story follows Artie Shaughnessy, a Queens native,  zoo-keeper by day, and lounge player by night. Shaughnessy dreams of life in Hollywood with his mistress, but is held back by his mentally unstable wife, Bananas. Things get interesting when the Pope makes his first visit to New York City, and their son makes a bomb intended to blow up the religious leader.

One of Marlow’s goals for this production is to shed light on the character of Bananas.

“I believe it is significant that what Bananas suffers from is never clearly defined in this play,” Marlow explains. “I question how much of what we perceive of Bananas is actually her and how much of Bananas’ identity is created by what other characters have to say about her.”

There are many questions that come up in the play – do those who suffer from mental illness have the same agency as those who appear as normal? And, how much truth and insight can we gather from those who are seen as troubled?

“I am not trying to solve anything with this play, but I do want to add to the conversation,“ Marlow added.

The House of Blue Leaves will run in the Studio Theater of the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased for $5 at the Campus Box Office in the Anderson University Center or at 253-535-7411.


December 9*, 10, 11, 12 at 7:30pm & December 13 at 2pm

Studio Theater, Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts


Tickets are $5 and are available at the Concierge Desk in the Anderson University Center, at 253-535-7411 [credit/debit/cash], and at the door before the show [cash only].

*Student Preview

Join us for a free student preview on Wednesday, December 9! Any student ID will get you in free!

About Alpha Psi Omega

Alpha Psi Omega is the national theatre honor society dedicated to supporting student-produced theatre. PLU’s Theta Pi cast provides students the opportunity to produce theatre through Vpstart Crow, the annual APO Mainstage show, the J-Term One-Act Festival, and PLU’s resident improv team the Clay Crows.