NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - After her father succumbed to cancer, playwright Jackie Rosenfeld turned to her craft as a means of coping with the loss. The senior lecturer in theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University chose to focus on the effects of breast cancer, and the resulting "keepingabreast" will open in New York on Friday, Oct. 21.

The Manhattan Theatre Mission's production of the play will be the third time the play has been produced by a professional company.

"But this time it is being presented in an Off-Off-Broadway venue, The Looking Glass Theatre," said Rosenfeld. "It's in the right place for the right people to see it and perhaps take it further."

The play focuses on a 28-year-old breast cancer patient who must decide whether or not to undergo a mastectomy to rid herself of the cancer that has proven resistant to chemotherapy treatments.

While the subject is serious, the play is usually billed as a dramatic or dark comedy because it also deals with society's fascination with and the many nicknames assigned to breasts.

The play is being directed by Heidi Mueller Smith, a breast cancer survivor.

Rosenfeld sees her play as an excellent fit for The Manhattan Theatre Mission since two of their goals are to expose and educate people on social issues and to give back financially to organizations supporting these causes.

The company's six performances of the play, Oct. 21 through 29, all fall within Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to cancer research.