Ho Wai-On 何蕙安 aka Ann-Kay Lin

Song & Dance of a 3-Time Cancer Survivor



Act 10


The heroine now finally faces the facts of therapy – a disturbing mixture of the frightening and the farcical. Is the big machine less scary for breaking down; a nurse more human for her lack of skill?  The peculiarities of other patients also provide some irritation and some distraction. Alone in the treatment room she focuses on the extraordinary battle taking place within her body, willing the treatment to work.


Heroine’s opening speech

People who had had radiotherapy often said they found the process was not too much bother, but experienced fatigue and the need to sleep a lot – in my case, I just kept sleeping during that period; while chemotherapy has a bad press – but… let me tell you some funny things about radiotherapy and chemo.



Male lead/chorus

You must be joking! How can radiotherapy and, especially, chemotherapy be funny?!

(Act 10 is in two halves)

10A RADIO FUN (1st half)


Radio fun!  Radio fun!

Radiotherapist/male lead:

You will be tattooed.



Hope it’s a nice pattern?           

Oh, and that’s it –

hardly noticeable.

Someone told me in the US,

gold is used as a marker,

surely that’s more accurate than tattoo?

Chorus/male lead:

This is the NHS,

and she wants gold!

(Music: Goldfinger-ish)

Bronze is the best you can hope for –

third-class citizen!?

Radiotherapist/male lead:

You need to come for 58 sessions           

– daily, except Saturdays and Sundays.


I free-lance most of my life.

Ha, this is like full-time office work.

Chorus/male lead:

Patients are not allowed

to wash the part

that’s receiving treatment –


Quite a long time not to have a wash…


The more sessions,

the smaller the dosage each time –

better for your muscle tone afterwards.

Chorus/male lead:

You won’t end up as tough meat!

Heroine: (ironically)

My first session was cancelled because of a bomb scare!!     

Chorus/male lead:

Why would anyone want to kill cancer patients?!     

Heroine: (ironically)

I could not have my second session

‘cos the machine caught fire!

Chorus/male lead:                

Such excitement,

on top of cancer treatment!

Will she still have confidence?


It’s chaotic in this place, waiting for treatment –

this elderly patient seems to need his whole tribe here to keep him company –

even toddlers and babies from his extended family –

crawling everywhere, and with their toys…

and I am all alone!

Chorus/male lead:

Well, perhaps the novelty will wear off soon,

and we’ll have some peace and quiet.

Heroine: (annoyed)

Ouch! Someone hit me with some mags from behind!

(Then with a sympathetic smile)

Oh, it’s that man who’s having radiotherapy for his throat –

he’s losing his voice after many sessions.                



Chorus/male lead:

That’s his way of saying hello to you,

and with a big smile on his face.

Radiotherapy nurse:

I prefer working in this clinic,

it's not restricted to one part of the body only –      

I don’t get so bored,

‘cos I have to change the setting for different patients,

(with a you-know-what smile)

and some have to have radiotherapy in awkward places.

It’s better than doing production-line type treatment –

just putting a different person at exactly the same spot.

Chorus/male lead:

So it might not be so great to go to a specialised centre –

how dreadful if the people who treat you got bored.


In this cool and big room…

Alone with this big machine…

A voice from the speaker tells me to keep still…

I wait for the ray gun to deliver the magic bullets…

Praying they will hit the target…

10B CHEMO COMEDY (2nd half)

Chorus/male lead:  

Now, chemo comedy!

Chemo comedy!


This bag of clear poison

is the magic potion,

travelling through my veins                

to every part of my body.

Chorus/male lead:

However weak you may feel,

Be assertive –

tell that nice nurse that you want someone else.

She’s nice in every way but she can’t get the needle in…

and then she loses confidence – it hurts!          

Heroine: (to the oncologist, annoyed)

Why don’t you inject something directly into where the cancer is and kill it,

instead of chemo to the whole body?!


Oncologist: (amused)

Because there is not yet such a thing.

(aside to audience)

This patient is not in a good mood.


Once the needle is in,

I feel the sensation of something cool traveling through me,

the poison mops up those immortal cancer cells.

Chorus/male lead:

A scientist once said that under the microscope,

harmful molecules look beautiful,

and they struggle when being destroyed…

He took pity on them!


While I feel this cool sensation,

the unwanted are being destroyed,

along with the good cells.

From all this killing in my body,

I will be saved.


You are to have one bag,

instead of two, different, bags of poison

because you are a pianist.

We decided that –

the other bag of poison would affect the feeling in your fingertips.


It also allows me to keep a full head of my hair –

as the other bag of poison affects hair loss.

Chorus/male lead:

See what practising the piano can do for you!



I also don’t need to be put next to the loo

as it’s the other bag of poison that would make me sick.

Chorus/male lead:

See what practising the piano can do for you!


Funny thing,

some patients look better in their wigs

than with their original hair.

Chorus/male lead:

Funny thing,

some people who accompany their loved ones,

complain about suffering known side-effects of treatments,

while the patient is not affected.


Heroine’s final speech:

The good thing is, nowadays,

radiotherapy and chemo have made big advances,

so things are easier and better for the patients.

(Smile) The later you get this, the better -

‘radio- and chemo-therapy’ seems neater.

Feeling deserted by friends in her hour of need the Heroine is forced to find new strength to fight alone.

But wait …

See Who she’s going to meet?

See next, Act 11:


(Si-fi music)

To see this act in its entirety with production ideas and performance materials etc., see my creative PhD thesis pp. 371-367, Chapter Five 5.10 Act Twelve.

Related music scores



See Score 3 相關樂譜   

Related music video (click video thumbnail)

electro-acoustic RADIO FUN