Cast Size: 1 Female, 2 Males, 5 Chorus
“The world of this play is strange and a little silly, but the issues at its heart are life-and-death: terminal illness and grief.” —San Francisco Gate
“Cochran’s writing is full of vivid imagery and almost poetic cadences.” —For All Events
Intimate Apparel: “Thoughtful, affecting new play . . . with seamless elegance.”—Charles Isherwood, Variety
Fabulation: “Robustly entertaining comedy . . . with punchy social insights and the firecracker snap of unexpected humor.”—Ben Brantley, The New York Times
With her two latest plays, “exceptionally gifted playwright” (New York Observer) Lynn Nottage has created companion pieces that span 100 years in the lives of African American women. Intimate Apparel is about the empowerment of Esther, a proud and shy seamstress in 1905 New York who creates exquisite lingerie for both Fifth Avenue boudoirs and Tenderloin bordellos. In Fabulation Nottage re-imagines Esther as Undine, the PR-diva of today, who spirals down from her swanky Manhattan office to her roots back in Brooklyn. Through opposite journeys, Esther and Undine achieve the same satisfying end, one of self-discovery.
Lynn Nottage’s plays include Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Mud, River, Stone; Por’ Knockers; Las Menias; Fabulation and Intimate Apparel, for which she was awarded the Francesca Primus Prize and the American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award in 2004. Her plays have been produced at theatres throughout the country, with Intimate Apparel slated for 16 productions during the 2005–2006 season.
Margaret Edson's powerfully imagined Pulitzer Prize–winning play examines what makes life worth living through her exploration of one of existence's unifying experiences—mortality—while she also probes the vital importance of human relationships. What we as her audience take away from this remarkable drama is a keener sense that, while death is real and unavoidable, our lives are ours to cherish or throw away—a lesson that can be both uplifting and redemptive. As the playwright herself puts it, "The play is not about doctors or even about cancer. It's about kindness, but it shows arrogance. It's about compassion, but it shows insensitivity."
In Wit, Edson delves into timeless questions with no final answers: How should we live our lives knowing that we will die? Is the way we live our lives and interact with others more important than what we achieve materially, professionally, or intellectually? How does language figure into our lives? Can science and art help us conquer death, or our fear of it? What will seem most important to each of us about life as that life comes to an end?
The immediacy of the presentation, and the clarity and elegance of Edson's writing, make this sophisticated, multilayered play accessible to almost any interested reader.
As the play begins, Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of English who has
spent years studying and teaching the intricate, difficult Holy Sonnets of the
seventeenth-century poet John Donne, is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Confident of her ability to stay in control of events, she brings to her illness the same intensely rational and painstakingly methodical approach that has guided her stellar academic career. But as her disease and its excruciatingly painful treatment inexorably progress, she begins to question the single-minded values and standards that have always directed her, finally coming to understand the aspects of life that make it truly worth living.