You know what I love? Theater.
You know what I also love? Writing about things I love.
Funny how these things work out when you have a blog.
I promised myself last September that I would do my best to go to as many productions as I possibly could from now on. So I promptly went and booked as many shows as I could. Next month, I’m going to my first concert (!), but this month, I went to five local productions, featuring local talent, and a few people I actually knew personally.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
When I was 16, I found my mother’s copy of this book and promptly sat down and read the whole thing. She told me she had loved the book; my brother, conversely, hated it. I enjoyed reading it, and forgot about it for a very long time.
And then a production was put up locally.
I bought tickets for myself and my mum, insisting that we attend as a little ‘mother-daughter’ bonding session. At first, I was hesitant, I admit. Would it be an adaptation of the film starring Dame Maggie Smith? While I love the film, I love the book more. Books are always better, ya know?
Turns out, while the costumes were inspired by the film, and well done on that decision because they were spot-on(!), the actual play was based on the book, which made my viewing of it incredibly satisfying.
What would I change? One thing. Why couldn’t Teddy Lloyd have only one arm as he’s supposed to?! This, though, is just me being incredibly finicky and constantly looking for the faithfulness in adaptations. If it were up to me, I would have found some way to make sure that Teddy Lloyd had one arm. Alas, this was not the case, but the actor who played him embodied the part incredibly well.
The rest of the production was superbly true to the book – Miss Brodie’s snobbish and elitist nature, her concern with her girls (to the extent of it going past motherly and becoming just plain old creepy), Sandy’s envy and anger as she grows and realizes exactly what Miss Brodie’s doing to their lives. The whole thing left me completely enraptured the entire time, and I was so glad I got to see it on opening night.
The interspersing of the older Sandy, a nun now, and the younger Sandy, experiencing Miss Brodie ‘in her prime’, was very well done; rather than hindering the story with its stops to include a little narration and backdrop, the flash-forwards (if you will) of Sandy in the present time helped the story seam together very beautifully.
I truly enjoyed watching this, and thought that the entire thing was a beautiful homage to a book more people should read, about a woman who uses her powers as a teacher in much the wrong way, and suffers the consequences of it, as do the young charges she (un)intentionally molds in the way she does.