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Simons, Beverley

Playwright born Beverley Rosen in Flin Flon, Manitoba in 1938. She moved with her family to Edmonton Alberta in 1950 and studied music.

She then studied on a writing scholarship which she won for a one-act play, Twisted Roots (1956) at the Banff Centre for the Arts. As a student at McGill University she became interested in innovative theatre, and chaired the Players Club Experimental Theatre. She transferred to the University of British Columbia, and completed a B.A. in English and Theatre 1959. Her travels in Europe and the South East Asia inspired her interest in ritualistic theatre.

Beverley Simons' work is challenging and highly symbolic, and varied in both form and content. A recurring preoccupation is with the struggle to express a unique sense of self in an alienating world. In Crabdance (1969, published by Talonbooks in 1972), her best known play, the female protagonist engages in role-playing with three men who act out her father, her lover, and her son. Leela Means to Play (1978) most evidently reflects her interest in Asian symbolic style. She has also engaged with her Jewish background in My Torah, My Tree (1956) and The Elephant and the Jewish Question (1968).

Other plays include: Green Lawn Rest Home (1973), a bleak look at old age; Preparing (1974), a monologue which again anticipates death; and The Crusader (1978).

She has also written for television and radio.

Source: Rota Herzberg Lister. "Simons, Beverley Rosen," Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.

Last updated 2011-01-20