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October 6, 1960

Irish playwright Brendan Behan talked informally under the auspices of the drama department, addressing his audience as “faculty members, madonnas and escorts.” “Puffing mightily on an aromatic cigar,” Diana Fries ’61 observed in The Miscellany News, “Mr. Behan rambled on about Vassar girls, chorus girls, Irish orphanages, Americans abroad…. Much of his discussion consisted of satirical reminiscences of his experiences in theaters all over the world. In these he played the various roles, from a paunchy American producer to a slightly drunk Dublin actor attempting the part of a French emperor. To see Behan’s mobile hound dog face assume these characters with the flick of an eyebrow and the slope of a shoulder was an experience that would have aroused even the most peevish of audiences to laughter.”

Behan’s first play, The Quare Fellow (1954), played in New York in 1958, and The Hostage (1958) had just moved to Broadway at the time of his visit to Vassar.

The Years