John Guares The House of Blue Leaves is my favorite theatrical work ever written. It was nominated for and won a significant number of Tony and Drama Desk awards in a dozen categories. (Alas, not the Best Play in 1986, the year it was nominated for the Tony.) Great play (it was revived on Broadway and is regularly revived in regional theaters). Great, beautiful, evocative title. Ive never seen it.
This has nothing to do with any animosity directed toward John Guare (one of Americas finest living playwrights), nor any perceived weakness in the dramatic structure of the work (How would I know?)
I love it simply because of the thought of blue leavessomething we never get to see in the never-changing sea of red, yellow, orange, and faded green on Adirondack hillsides during the leafy death throes of autumn.
Absolutely blazing reds. Sure, Ive seen blazing reds. I come from a family of redheads with tempers as hot as their hair color. I need more red in my life like a butcher needs more on his apron. And now matter how lemony yellow or orangy orange or lime green, theyre all headed toward one color, one texture, one place after a couple bad weeks of Off Off Off Broadway performances: bad-meat brown, half-cooked bacon, and my backyard, respectively. (Ive actually had the first two items in my backyard. Id rather not discuss the circumstances in detail, except to say that some people have odd ideas about expressing their opinion about who you happen to be dating, especially if theres some historyfamilial or otherwisethere.)
But before the scratching of the soil with the wood- or PVC-handled scraping stick, there is the leaf-peeping traffic to be dealt withand, depending on how long youve lived in these mountainsdealt harshly.Leaf peepers (or as Cassells Dictionary of Slang first called them, leaf freaks) drive as if they are inside a four thousand pound walking machine. (In the case of bus tours, multiply that weight by ten.) Perhaps one out of a thousand will actually pull off to the side of the road or into an actual parking area, exit their eight-banger walkarounds, and frolic among the multihued dangling litter.