The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
A Play by Jay Presson Allen

Adapted from the novel by Muriel Spark

Directed  by Tom McClary

Scenic Designer – Bret Sarlouis

Lighting Designer – Susan L. Polay

Costumer Designer – Amy Silverman

Audio Designer – Mike Twomley

Technical Director – micah margolis

Stage Manager – Donald Ishler

Apprentice Coordinator – Eric M. Brinser

                  (Reprinted from the State College Community Theatre’s 1980 playbill)

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 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

Performed June 12-15, July 18-July 22, 2006
Jane Chandlee
as Sister Helena
Randy Smith
as Mr. Perry
Caitlin Osborne
Jean Brodie
Riley Sunday
Aimee Pearsall
Lydia Snyder
as Mary MacGregor
Sivan Grunfeld
as Miss Mackay
Christina Mazur
as Sandy
Sara Getson
as Harriet
Kelley Edwards
as Jenny
Chris Gamble
as Teddy Lloyd
Nick Semon
as Gordon Lowther
Hilary Caldwell
as Eunice
Erin McQuay
as Patricia Campbell
Alexis Wulf
as Rose
Meredith Tillotson
as Barbara
Kaitlyn Wulf
as Clara