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A (re)discovery of Beverley Rosen Simons : Preparing for production Lockitch, Amanda Ruth

Abstract

The plays of Beverley Rosen Simons, written over the past thirty years, have had a contentious and underprivileged relationship with Canada's professional theatre companies. Her most famous work, Crabdance, was, however, included in a 2001 anthology of British Columbian plays, bringing Simons' text into the contemporary landscape of Canadian drama. Although the anthology printed her most well-known play, it was written in 1969. Today, she has many scripts that are ready, and have been ready, to be brought to the stage, but they remain unproduced. In 1994, the late Urjo Kareda, Artistic Director of the Tarragon Theatre, cited a specific reason as to why he was unable to support a production of Simons' latest play, now you see it.... The charge levied against the text is that Simons' "technique of simultaneous scenes... exists only in her own imagination ... placing iron clamps around the creativity of both the actors and the director," and thus this play is virtually impossible to produce. The purpose of this thesis is to offer a rediscovery of Simons' work, placing her in the context of Canadian theatre history and providing a brief background on some of her earlier texts. I then provide a comprehensive dramaturgical analysis of her newest unproduced and unpublished play, now you see it.... Since I am preparing this play for production, I will specifically examine the charge laid by Kareda. He was a champion of new Canadian work and a major theatrical force in Canada before his years at Tarragon and beyond. This analysis is specifically geared towards the question of whether or not Simons' challenging dramaturgy, in terms of content and form, is truly too difficult to produce. Through a detailed dramaturgical analysis of the text including characters, setting and synopsis, an examination of thematic devices that Simons employs, and a discussion of the staging issues that arose in a pre-production workshop of the text, I hope to illuminate some of the complexities surrounding the production of this play.

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