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Medical News & Perspectives
November 3, 1999

Wit: A Play Raises Issues of Emotional Needs of Patients

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JAMA. 1999;282(17):1611-1612. doi:10.1001/jama.282.17.1611-JMN1103-3-1

New York—The central character of Wit, the Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Margaret Edson currently on stage at Union Square Theatre in Manhattan, is a woman diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. Hardly the stuff of light comedy, Wit nevertheless evokes laughter as well as tears in its deft portrayal of the issues faced by a patient with this malignancy.

The issues raised by the play—how a patient deals emotionally with cancer and how that patient is treated by medical professionals managing her care—have struck a chord with audiences, so much so that after every Tuesday night performance, theatergoers are invited to attend a "talk-back" discussion with the actors and a guest moderator.