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Sunday, March 27, 2022


by Barbara Simmons

San Jose Mercury News, March 18, 2022

It strikes me first because I want
to replicate the cover story, its
filling up the top-half of page one with
students costumed for their roles in Beauty and
the Beast, and fill the bottom of this page, the
story line the same, but now removing it from San Leandro,
taking it to Mariupol, setting up production there for
the same play, with young Ukrainians in the roles of Belle,
The Beast, the talking Armoire and the flickering Lumiere, 
all taking turns rehearsing for the opening night. The local
story tells of students whose dramatic arc
had lost two years, pandemic’s having moved them away
from stages and onto screens. The story from another world
shows readers columns, perhaps Corinthian, now holding air,
the theater they adorned now roofless, the drama playing out
a theme of death and rubble, shrapnel-scarred skeletons, smoke
the scrim. Who may have played these roles we do not know, those
killed as they sought refuge in a theater basement. 
The layout
is the story: partitioned narratives reveal two worlds, one
where drama’s curtain rises to roles donned, 
the other where the drama is demise, 
where nothing’s left for anyone, for any of us, 
to understand.

Barbara Simmons, a native Bostonian residing in California, a graduate of Wellesley College and The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins, is a retired teacher and counselor.  She explores the communion of words as ways to remember and envision.  Publications include Boston Accent, The NewVerse News, Soul-Lit, and Capsule Stories. Offertories: Exclamations and Disequilibriums is her first book of poetry due in Spring 2022.