The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

A Play by Jay Presson Allen
Adapted from the novel by Muriel Spark

Performed
June 12-15, July 18-July 22, 2006
at
The Boal Barn Playhouse

Production Staff

DirectorTom McClary
Scenic DesignerBret Sarlouis
Lighting DesignerSusan L. Polay
Costume DesignerAmy Silverman
Audio DesignerMike Twomley
Technical Directormicah margolis
Stage ManagerDonald Ishler
Apprentice CoordinatorEric M. Brinser

About the Show

Program Cover
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
2005

Teachers have not always fared well in literature. Consider the lanky, superstitious ambitious schoolmaster of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Ichabod Crane. Remember all those grotesque incompetents who pass themselves off as teachers in the novels of Charles Dickens and who succeed only in terrifying their pupils. Think of those incurably romantic, often neurotic, love-lorn governesses so dear to the hearts of 19th-century writers and readers. Nor do matters improve much when we come to the 20th century. James Hilton’s Mr. Chips and Frances Gray Patton’s Miss dove are fine teachers and good human beings, but they are also overly sentimentalized, insufferably saint-like, and not terribly believable.

That is why Miss Jean Brodie in both Muriel Sparks’ novel and Jay Presson Allen’s play based on the novel is a fascinating character. As teachers of literature like to say about such characters, she is a round, not a flat, figure. Miss Brodie is most stimulating as a teacher, igniting the imaginations of her girls with stories about Giotto, La Traviata, and the Stuart Succession. Yet she is also not a liar, telling her girls to do as she tells them, not as she does herself. She is both nobly heroic and foolishly ridiculous. We approve of her rebellious nature but we wince and draw back at her support of fascism. Is Miss Brodie’s influence on the girls at Marcia Blaine school “excessive and baneful” as Miss Mackay, the headmistress, claims, or is Miss Brodie their friend and patron, influencing them “to be aware of all the possibilities of life,” as Miss Brodie counters? Is she a threat or a benefactor? Is she guilty or innocent? Whatever your final judgment, you will agree that she is a woman of unusual depth. We are not likely to forget Miss Brodie and what she means and does to her girls – “Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life.”

Richard Gidez
Reprinted from the State College Community Theatre’s 1980 playbill

The Cast

Sister HelenaJane Chandlee
Mr. PerryRandy Smith
Jean BrodieCaitlin Osborne
LouiseRiley Sunday
MonicaAimee Pearsall
Mary MacGregorLydia Snyder
Miss MackaySivan Grunfeld
SandyChristina Mazur
HarrietSara Getson
JennyKelley Edwards
Teddy LloydChris Gamble
Gordon LowtherNick Semon
EuniceHilary Caldwell
Patricia CampbellErin McQuay
RoseAlexis Wulf
BarbaraMeredith Tillotson
ClaraKaitlyn Wulf