Years ago local resident Barbara McFarlin-Kosiec wrote a play she titled “Putting Away the Old, A Story of New Beginnings”. It’s a one act play with two scenes performed as a radio broadcast and the theme of the play is about setting aside what it is that hinders a person’s ability to adjust to change and move on.
The main character in the play is Judge Hawkins, who’s been widowed for a few years, settled into a routine of work he doesn’t enjoy any longer and who’s only companion is his cat. He spends considerable time visiting his dead wife’s grave and basically the only real conversation he has is with Margaret, his long- time housekeeper.
Margaret is a very perceptive woman who encourages the Judge to move forward but has no success. However, this changes when one evening an apparition of his dead wife shows up and convinces him to find “a new beginning”. Below is a sample of the play.
Narrator: Judge Hawkins has just eaten his pie when the rattle of keys is heard. By the table in the entryway a shadowy figure of a lady dressed in white appears. She picks up the keys that the Judge put on the table and rattles them in order to announce her appearance. She becomes more visible and moves closer to the armchair. Judge Hawkins appears astonished and frozen. The lady opens the conversation.
Julia: “Oh, my dear. What a frightful look you have on your face. You look like you have just seen death; you are white as a sheet.”
The conversation continues as the apparition of the dead wife goes on to encourage the Judge to get over her death and start to live life again. The play is poignant and also funny at times although the subject matter tackles the real life topic of what happens when a loving couple experiences the death of one partner. Life is never the same again and for many the adjustment to the loss seems almost insurmountable.
The play was first performed for the residents of Trinity Lodge on July 12, and then for the public at Christ Church Anglican on July 19, 2019. The church was a very effective backdrop to the radio style performance with a narrative that created a clear visualization of what was happening although the performers were only speaking their lines.
Orlan Weber as Judge Hawkins was very believable, Catherine Ripley as Margaret was very expressive, Barbara McFarlin-Kosiec dressed in all white as Julia the dead wife apparition was moving and Jo Anne Burke was excellent as the narrator.
A spectacular solo number sang by Jael Wong accompanied by Sylvia Elias on piano titled “Think of Me” from the Phantom of the Opera received an enthusiastic round of applause.
McFarlin-Kosiec said this play started as a short story ten years ago. Her interest in writing began at university when she took Spanish as her major and studied literature that enabled her to know the components of a poem, a play, short story etc. Part of the studies meant having to analyze Literature and after attending two years at Monterrey Teck in Mexico her dissertation consisted of translating Mexican Literature into English.
She has a Masters in Spanish and a PHD in Leadership and that dissertation involved translating a play from Spanish into English.
When she began her teaching career she taught Spanish to kids and also English either as a second language or in native tongue depending on the political climate of the day she says. She taught in Mexico, in Washington State and Texas and for School District #5 in Canada. She met her husband the late Len Kosiec in 1981 and after they married in 1982 immigrated to Canada. She taught in the US but during holidays she worked here at whatever employment she could find so as to show that she was serious about making Fernie her home. With a high interest in politics she and Len worked for the NDP as volunteers and also for the Fernie Heritage Cemetery Restoration Society that they began as a way to improve the looks of the old cemetery. A work that Len did right until his passing and something that Barbara has continued. She also was very involved with the Health Coalition working to keep the hospital open and helping to organize demonstrations against the closure of the operating room.
She was a member of the Official Community Plan in 2012 for the City and is currently a member of the History committee with the Museum. An accomplished pianist she also plays the piano for the Catholic and Anglican churches on alternating Sundays. For McFarlin-Kosiec Fernie is home and she does whatever she can to contribute to the fabric of this town.