Theater review: Good Ending

The play is precisely and brilliantly performed, sung and danced by its accomplished ensemble.

By HELEN KAYE
June 29, 2011 21:28
1 minute read.
Good Ending

Good Ending. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Cameri, June 27
Cancer as a subject for laughter, for guffaws even? Most people can’t even say the word out loud. Its very thought inspires dread.

Which makes Anat Gov’s transcendent Good Ending a phenomenon. Not only is it very funny, it is witty, intelligent, irreverent, and hugely compassionate. Gov pulls no punches: her verbal scalpel lays bare doctors’ insensitivities, incomprehensible medical jargon, the nurses’ rote explanations, the patients idiosyncrasies, the moral/ethical questions and (of course) the fears.

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Perhaps, had the playwright not announced that she herself has terminal cancer and that she, like her heroine, has refused chemo and other invasive treatments, she and the play might be reviled for gross insensitivity. Now she and the play will be praised deservedly for their courage. And above all, this play is an anthem to living.

It is also precisely and brilliantly performed, sung and danced by its accomplished ensemble. Shlomi Shaban’s songs are unerringly to the point. Yehezkel Lazarov’s opulent choreography makes its own ironic statement. Edna Mazia’s direction is crisp, un-mawkish, and allowing of mercy.

Actress Talia Roth, played with beautiful restraint by Anat Waxman has arrived at the oncology outpatient department to begin chemotherapy. Initially she wants nothing to do with the three other veteran patients. They are Hayale, who has declared war on her cancer, played with a terrorized truculence by the redoubtable Zharira Harifa’i, determinedly optimistic Miki, who’ll try any therapy, no matter how off the wall, whom Sarit Vino Elad portrays with desperation-tinged levity, and observant Emuna, who must contend not only with chemo, but with her numerous children and impractical husband. Roni Shoval illumines the role with both fragility and strength.

However, diagnosed with terminal and inoperable pancreatic cancer, Talia decides to opt out of chemo and other therapies.

She will live to the hilt what life she has left for as long as she can, and then meet Death on her terms and by her own will.

Come what may.

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