For Cynthia Nixon and Lynne Meadow, With Wit Comes Understanding

By Harry Haun
05 Jan 2012

Cynthia Nixon
The author agrees, Meadow relays. "When I said to Maggie that Cynthia wants to do this play, she was just over the moon. She didn't think she was too anything but wonderful. I've this fantasy that when she meets Cynthia, she'll write a play for her."

Nixon's age did play a factor in something else. The actress turned 40, Tony winner and cancer survivor all in the same year. "It was," she remembers, "a totally routine examination. What the guy who read the film said was, 'You know, it's so small. I really wouldn't have thought anything of it, but it wasn't on the previous year's mammogram.' I started getting mammograms at 35 because my mother had breast cancer twice. I'm so lucky I didn't start at 40. They wouldn't have noticed it for another year, and who knows how much more advanced it would have been?"

Meadow seconded that: "If that's not an argument for mammograms, I don't know what is. I didn't find mine on a mammogram. I found mine myself. I, too, was lucky.

"After I had finished chemotherapy, I did read Wit. It was very intense to read after that. I wasn't staging it in my head as much as hearing the music of it. Like any great play, the answers are within the text, and the joy of working on this is finding them. We've all done plays where there are potholes, and you have to fill in what's not there. This seems to be a woman being diagnosed with cancer, but it's actually about a person facing a challenge — like losing a job. It's not necessarily a life/death situation. What Maggie taps into that's profound and far-reaching is it's about facing a challenge and what you do in the face of a crisis. That's one reason that we want to do it on a larger canvas, on Broadway: so more people can see it."