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Asides from being eye-catching, the subject of this moving play is about a university professor of English-Dr. Vivian Bearing, dying of ovarian cancer. She agrees on treatment from her oncologist, Dr. Harvey Kelekian who proposed to her a chemotherapeutic treatment experiment being of eight rounds at full dosage. The play continues bringing out Vivian’s character as a brilliant, cold hearted and uncompromising teacher who does not care about her students but only her interest and passion for the poetry of John Donne. She keeps on reciting “Death Be Not Proud, though some Have Called Thee…” as she reflects upon her condition. This moving play shows what Vivian goes through in her condition and treatment and ends when she died and unclothed, then she moves from her hospital be “towards a little light”.
In this play, the author wants us to think critically about death and dying, how we face death and the role of health care in our final stages of life. She also wants us to think and analyze the successes and shortcomings of languages and the mind life. Vivian spend decades analyzing the mystery and poetic wit of John Donne’s Holly Sonnets, religious poetry that struggles with the common themes of life and death, the soul and God. The two favorite sonnets of Vivian explains (one was even displayed on a theatre screen as per stage directions) became a personality in their own right in this play. The famous line from this sonnet “And death shall be no more, Death, thou shall die”, is presented at early stage of the play as the main point. The issue is reconsidered near the end of play as a representation of dying woman’s changes to a suffering mortal.
According to this play, I feel so much wit and laughter strengthens it since the play is so moving and with a lot of tension. Considering the theme of this play covers much about death and which usually comes as a surprise and includes various feelings like emotional suffering, grief accompanied by mourning, it was a brilliant idea to use wit and laughter to convey the message to the audience. These strengthen the play by relieving tension, stress and enhance creativity and mood. It also improved the communication and capturing the full attention of the audience through making communication more exciting, fresh and healthy.
The playwright must have chosen to present it this way for the following reason: to ensure that the audience feel relaxed and energized at the same time hence helping in accomplishment of more and drawing the audience attention. Another reason is to enhance a connection to the audience thus binding together. Also the reason was to ensure that they put things into perspective.
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