Beverley Simons

Beverley Simons, née Rosen, playwright (b at Flin Flon, Man 31 Mar 1938). Simons grew up in Edmonton and was educated at the Banff School of Fine Arts, McGill University and the University of British Columbia, where she completed a BA in English and Theatre in 1959. Her plays, highly abstract and densely symbolic, dramatize the author's existential concerns and her vision of life as a lengthy, ritualistic preparation for death. In Crabdance (1969), a small cast of characters perform the rituals and word games that denote a meaningless existence and the failure of communication. The fragility of one's sense of identity is also the theme of The Green Lawn Rest Home (1973), in which 3 elderly residents of a nursing home experience the loss of their senses, passions and memories in a series of empty social rituals that cannot alleviate their fear of the death they never mention.

Her other works include Preparing (1969), a one-woman monologue; Triangle (1975); and The Crusader (1975), which employs the stylized rituals of Japanese theatre. The influence of oriental theatre, a subject she studied in the Far East in 1968 and 1986, is also evident in Leela Means to Play (1976), a work that disrupts a conventional sense of time and place. My Torah, My Tree (1956) and The Elephant and the Jewish Question (1968) dramatize her Jewish heritage.