(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/28.)
Cynthia Nixon’s gaze has its own grammar. Playing a terminally ill English professor in the inescapably moving new revival of Margaret Edson’s “Wit,” the 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama, Ms. Nixon seems to construct perfectly composed, illuminating and surprising thoughts with her sky-blue eyes — the kind of thoughts that if you saw them in print would make you stop and savor and reread.
It’s not that Vivian Bearing, Ms. Nixon’s character, doesn’t possess a sharp and eloquent tongue. She is, please note, an esteemed and intimidating scholar of the metaphysical poetry of John Donne. But the eyes are what first hook and then hold you through this immaculately staged 100-minute journey through the final months of one woman’s life. And while the eyes are usually in agreement with the weighty, exquisitely arranged words Vivian speaks, they also hint at something more profound, which both eludes and informs her intelligence.