This one-act play by Margaret Edson won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching seventeenth-century poet John Donne's intricate Holy Sonnets, is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Confident in her ability to stay in control of the situation, she tries to apply the same rational and painstakingly methodical approach to her illness that has guided her academic career. But as her disease and its painful treatment progress, she begins to question the single-minded values and standards that have always directed her, ultimately coming to understand the aspects of life that make it truly worth living. She reassesses her life and her work with transformative profundity and humor. It's a play that audiences find both uplifting and redemptive -- as Edson herself said, "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 other words, it's enormously human.
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