Fights. Losses. Survivors. The language of cancer is a battleground littered with violent metaphors, but a new production at London’s National Theatre plans to change that, with an “all singing, all dancing examination of life with a cancer diagnosis”. Oh yes, a musical. About cancer.
In its very title, Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel’s A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer issues an open challenge to public discourse on serious illness. “[Musicals can] seem like puff pieces of art,” says Kimmings, “but actually if you think about the good ones, they deal with huge issues. Cancer should definitely be a musical.”