University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance presents “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.” The show is directed by Vincent O’Neill, artistic director and co-founder of Irish Classical Theatre, and associate theater professor in the department.
Public performances will take place at UB Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre on UB’s North Campus from Oct. 23-27.
“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” is a dramatization by Jay Presson Allen of Muriel Spark’s highly successful novel of the same name. Presson, primarily a screenwriter, adapted the sprawling novel for the stage by using the economy and sharp focus of the cinema. It was no surprise when Presson was approached to lend her adaptation as the basis for the movie.
“Jean Brodie” is among The Guardian newspaper’s “Hundred Best Novels of the Twentieth Century.”
The 1969 film garnered its star, Maggie Smith, an Oscar for her portrayal of the central role and made her a household name decades before she played the hugely familiar Dowager Countess in “Downton Abbey.”
Jean Brodie is an uninhibited teacher at a 1930s girls’ school in Edinburgh, Scotland. Determined her students should receive an education in the most visceral way, she provides them with lessons about love, life, travel and art, amid the perils of rising European fascism.
“I chose this play to direct for the UB Department of Theatre and Dance, because it has a brilliant plot and wonderful acting roles for our BFA theater performance students, especially with regard to the number of female roles,” director O’Neill said. “The theme is sadly relevant today with the rise of populism, and even Fascism in many parts of the world. The play also deals with the universal struggle between individual freedom and society’s restrictions, between the value of arts and humanities versus math and science, and between the opposing forces in the human condition of romanticism and pragmatism. In any case, the play remains, more than a half century since it was written, a delightfully warm, human, humorous and dramatically powerful vehicle.”
Ticket information is available at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/center-for-the-arts-26149591719. Tickets are also available at the door one hour prior to show.