“Waiting Room” is a two-act play by a Canadian playwright Diane Flacks. It is a fictional story which was, nevertheless, inspired by the author’s own experience at SickKids Hospital.
At the centre of the play we have two pairs: Chrissie and Jeremy, young parents, whose baby daughter is suffering from a brain tumour, and Dr. Andre Malloy and his assistant Melissa De Angelo, who are both brilliant and competent but not flawless.
Chrissie and Jeremy both struggle with their daughter’s illness in their own ways, alternating between antagonizing and supporting each other. They form uncommon friendships with other parents who visit the hospital as well as medical staff. They spend so much time in the hospital waiting room that they have nicknames for nurses and doctors.
Dr. Malloy is not known for his pleasant bedside manner but he is a brilliant and successful surgeon, who unexpectedly finds himself facing his own medical dilemma. He is god-like and uncompromising, much like other similar characters in medical dramas, however, he is brought back to earth and is forced to face his own mortality.
I was hooked by the writing from the very beginning. As someone who is both personally familiar with doctors and their peculiar sense of humour as well as cancer treatment, I found this play very true to life. The author’s introductory notes to characters are poignant and made me long to see this play on stage. “Waiting Room” is gripping and heartbreaking as well as heartwarming at times, as it examines humanity and ethics in life and death situations. Although the play deals with terminal disease and is hard to read – let’s be honest here – it is so well-written, that I did not feel crushed by the story as much as I had expected to be.
However, if there was one thing that I could change about it, it would have been the epilogue. Even though I do understand why the epilogue was written the way it was written, I still liked Scene 15 as the ending for the play way more.
I have received a copy of this play from Playwrights Canada Press in exchange of a free and honest review.
Personal rating: 5 stars