At the Samuel J Friedman Theatre at 261 West 47th Street. Opening on January 26, 2012 and closing on March 4, 2012. The play runs with no intermission.
Wit is written by American playwright Margaret Edson. The play won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The first New York City production was in September 6, 1988 at the MCC Theatre. The play moved to the Union Square Theatre in December 1988 and closed April 9, 2000. Starring Kathleen Chalfant. She won a Village Voice Obie for her performance. It ran over 500 performances and was name Best Play by the New York Drama Critic Circle, the Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Award, The Drama League and The Lucille Lortel Award.
The HBO production won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie in 2001 and starred Emma Thompson.
Cynthia Nixon is know her role in "Sex in the City". Her last appearance on Broadway was in "Rabbit Hole" in 2006. She won a Tony Award for her performance. Cynthia won her first Emmy as "Miranda Hobbes" in the HBO series "Sex in the City". Her second Emmy was for her guest starring role in "Law and Order: SVU". She is currently in Showtime television series "The Big C".
The curtain is open before the show. There is a horizontal wall on the stage, otherwise it's bare. All during the show the wall rotates and the furniture and settings change. Each is minimal but to the point. Santo Loquasto was the scenic designer. He has received 15 Tony nominations. Santo has won three Tony Awards, for costume design in 1977 "The Cherry Orchard" (tied with Theoni V Aldredge for "Annie") and in 1990 for "Grand Hotel : The Musical". He also won for Best Scenic Design in 1989 for "Cafe Crown". Among the other awards he has won are The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design, (three times) and The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design (one).
The play is about Dr. Vivian Bearing (Cynthia Nixon) , a university professor of English dying of stage four ovarian cancer. Since her cancer is so far advanced she agrees to be part of an experimental chemotherapeutic treatment regimen of eight rounds at full dosage.
The story starts with Vivian in her hospital gown, her head covered by a baseball cap, holding on to portable IV stand. She starts telling her story about what is wrong with her and saying you know how my play will end in 2 hours the character will die.
The play tell us about about her finding out she has cancer and what happens to her until her death. We go thru her treatment, reflections of her past. Like when she was five reading Beatrice Potter. She decided the that words would be an important part of her life. During a scene she will step out of character to tell us what shes thinking or whats happening.
Dr Jason Posner (Greg Keller) wants to keep her alive at any price. He a clinical fellow at the Medical Oncology branch and is a former student of hers.
When there is no longer hope of her recovering her nurse Susie Monahan (Carra Patterson) asks her if your heart stops what does you want us to do? Do you want to go code blue or do not resuscitate. Vivian decides DNR.
The pain gets unbearable.
The last person to see her coherent is and old college professor Dr. Ashford (Suzanne Bernish). Dr Ashford reads her a book she brought for her great grandson "The Runaway Bunny".
Dr Posner is in the room when she dies, he calls code blue. Nurse Suzie comes in saying you can't do that, she does not want that. After much fuss with the other doctors, they stop and let her die.
It ends with her cap coming off, she in in a fetal position. When she gets up she is totally nude, I'm sure there will be different interpretations of what this means.
This is not a play for everyone, especially if you know someone that has died of cancer. It drains you.
Cynthia Nixon performance is Tony worthiness. She is superb. You get swollen into her character's life, as she is some one you care for. Her range from drama to comedy is outstanding. When she is screaming out in pain I was trying to control my tears from flowing, just as I was about to she made some funny remark which helped me stop. A gentlemen from Australia that I met said he was crying thru out the show.
Carra Patterson gets better in each scene. A compasionate and caring nurse we all hope to get if we are in the hospital.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor