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John Patrick Shanley, photo by Monique Carboni
John Patrick Shanley

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND TONY AWARD FOR “DOUBT,” AND WINNER OF THE BEST SCREENPLAY OSCAR FOR MOONSTRUCK, TO SPEAK

15th Annual BURIAN LECTURE
Sponsored by the Department of Theatre
and Co-sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute


April 6, 2011

4:15 p.m. Seminar |Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Lecture | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus

CALENDAR LISTING:
John Patrick Shanley, playwright, screenwriter, film director, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and “Best Play” Tony Award for “Doubt: A Parable” (2004) and winner of the “Best Screenplay” Oscar for MOONSTRUCK(1987), will speak about his life and work as part of the 15th Annual Burian Lecture on April 6, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany’s uptown campus.  Earlier that same day, the author will present an informal seminar at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library on the uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, the UAlbany Theatre Department and funded by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment.

PROFILE:
John Patrick Shanley,
major contemporary playwright noted especially for his working class New York dramas, received the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for his 2004 play, “Doubt: A Parable,” about allegations of sexual misconduct at a Catholic school in the Bronx. Father Flynn, a beloved parish priest, is accused by Sister Aloysius, a conservative nun, of molesting an altar boy. The play unfolds as a perplexing riddle:  How can we be confident whether Father Flynn is guilty or not?

“Doubt” was selected as the best play of the year by Time magazine, the New York Daily News, Newsday and Entertainment Weekly. Writing in the  Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout called it, “That rarity of rarities, an issue-driven play that is unpreachy, thought-provoking, and so full of high drama that the audience with which I saw it gasped out loud a half-dozen times at its startling twists and turns.” The play also received the Drama Desk Award, the Lucille Lortel Award and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, all for “Best Play.”

Grayce Susan Burian and John Patrick ShanleyShanley directed his own adaptation of DOUBT for the screen, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, in 2008. The film earned five Academy Award nominations, including best screenplay. In a superlative review in the Chicago Tribune, Roger Ebert said, DOUBT has exact and merciless writing, powerful performances and timeless relevance. It causes us to start thinking with the first shot, and we never stop. Think how rare that is in a film.” NOTE: The Writers Institute will screen DOUBT on Friday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Page Hall on the UAlbany downtown campus.

Shanley’s other notable plays include “Women of Manhattan” (1986), “Psychopathia Sexualis” (1998), “Dirty Story” (2003), “Defiance” (2005), and “Pirate” (2010). In a review of his career as a playwright in Twentieth Century American Dramatists (2008), Dan Bacalzo said, “There is a conciseness to his style that cuts to the core of a character’s emotions….” Clive Barnes of the New York Post has said, “Shanley’s writing is taut. It wastes no words.”

John Patrick ShanleyIn 1987, Shanley received an Oscar for his original screenplay for the hit film MOONSTRUCK, directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Cher, Nicholas Cage and Olympia Dukakis. Other films written by Shanley include LIVE FROM BAGHDAD (2002), CONGO (1995),  ALIVE (1993), JOE VS. THE VOLCANO (1990) and FIVE CORNERS (1987).

Shanley will be presenting the 15th Annual Burian Lecture, a yearly event that brings leading scholars and practitioners of the art of the theatre to the Albany campus. It is funded by Jarka and Grayce Susan Burian Endowment.

The late Jarka Burian taught in the Theatre Department at UAlbany from 1955 to 1993. He was the leading American scholar of Czech theatre and author of the award-winning book The Scenography of Josef Svoboda, a seminal critical study of the work of one of the twentieth century’s most influential theatrical designers. Grayce Susan Burian, who received her M.A. degree from UAlbany and also taught there, is best known for her long tenure as the director of the theatre program, which she founded, at Schenectady Community College.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.