In her article "Pain and Mourning in Vogel's Baltimore Waltz and Lavery's Last Easter" Catalina Florina Florescu argues that there is something of a contrapuntal, contradictory nature when a person lives with or visits someone who spends most of his days in bed. Sitting next to a patient, his attendee faces the burdensome ticking of clocks, the ache of waiting, and the dagger-piercing questions of one's meaning. In other words, it is not only the pain of the other that intrigues and baffles us. It is also narrating and performing our reactions to that pain. In Florescu's reading, the focus of both plays is the problem of meaning, and more specifically the meaning of death as seen through AIDS and cancer. Vogel and Lavery reinvent the problem of meaning through a type of laughter that borders on tears.

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