Wit

Monday, December 05 th, 2016 at 00:12 am 

Wit

JOY REVIEW

Wit is currently playing at the Manhattan Theater Club and starring Cynthia Nixon. Let me just warn you up-front that this is not an easy play. I saw it originally with Kathleen Chalfant down in the Village, but it is a worthwhile play, you just have to bring your own Kleenexes. This has also been an HBO special that won an Emmy in 2001. It was originally written in 1991 and produced in 1995, so that means that the only time that it has actually been produced in New York previous to this was seventeen years ago.  The story is one of a professor whose specialty is John Donne, and who finds out that she has stage four uterine cancer. This is her story of how she weathers it, and I think it’s sort of a message for all of us about how we deal with life and death and humor, and when humor is appropriate and how we deal with the vicissitude of both life and death. Again, it’s not an easy play. Cynthia Nixon is very different from Kathleen Chalfant, in that she seems much younger, although technically she is only five or so years younger than Kathleen Chalfant, but it gives additional poignancy to a relatively young woman dying of cancer as opposed to a woman who is a bit older; although I suppose dying is dying. If I seem to be rattling on a bit it’s because this is a difficult play and will have you thinking about your life and who your friends are and how you live and how you die in completely different ways, and if it doesn’t make you sob at the ending, then you’re stronger than I am. Cynthia Nixon was terrific in this, the play is terrific, and it’s not easy, but a very worthwhile, theatrical experience. Four and a half stars.

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