Photo by Don Kellogg

Saturday, January 28, 2012


A play about cancer and dying is probably not something that is first on your uplifting winter "must see" list.  But don't click the back button on your browser just yet.  Attention must be paid.  This play is a modern watershed of issue and emotion.  Cynthia Nixon may be compared to the prior leading ladies in this work, but without ever having seen those other leading ladies (whom I also adore),  I give Ms. Nixon a standing ovation right here - not only for her acting, her emotion, and ownership of the role, but for her giving life to the words on the page and to all those who are touched by cancer.

I'd like to highlight something that I have not seen in many of the other reviews - which tend to focus on Ms. Nixon's performance and the intelligent play on literature, poetry, grammar, God, and yes, wit.   What I found so biting was Ms. Edson's condemnation of doctors and, frankly, the entire health care system in general, while at the same time, the defense and promotion of the care giving of nurses.  Time and time again, to quite a successful humorous result each time, we hear uncaring, unobservant, superficial doctors go about their business of talking above a patient's head, asking "How do you feel today" to a patient suffering the pains of chemotherapy.   I found, quite often, Ms. Edson's dual emotions toward the situation - the superior intelligence and necessity of academics and researchers in the medical field and at the same time her bitter disdain for the lack of warmth, observation, and comfort by those same people.

The bitter pill she is forced to swallow is that she herself is forced to transition from (literary) expert to subject, teacher to student, artist to model.  She intelligently and rationally comes to the conclusion about what her life was and what it was not.  How she lived it and just how it may end.

There are many layers to this play and Ms. Nixon and director Lynne Meadow have chosen some of its finest most relevant to showcase in 2012.  Bravo Ms. Nixon, Ms. Meadow and to the entire cast for a top notch performance of a touching work!