Margaret Edson's award-winning play, Wit is about a professor with aggressive cancer. It is a thought-provoking and hilarious play that is presented by Clock and Spiel and showing at Seymour Centre this October.
Dr. Vivian Bearing (Cheryl Ward) is 50, unmarried and in her prime. She has no family or friends. She dedicated her life to deciphering and interpreting the metaphysical poetry of John Donne. She is at the height of her career as an English Literary Scholar, but she finds out she is dying, and now her constant companion is cancer.
The play starts with Vivian wearing a hospital gown and a head wrap (to hide her baldness). She begins telling us about her eight-month ordeal of "full-force" experimental treatment for aggressive cancer: Advanced metastatic ovarian cancer.
She guides us through the flow of short, swift scenes, taking us between present and past, then leading to a conclusion. "It is not my intention to give away the plot", Vivian tells us, "But I think I die at the end". The word "that" raises doubt and questions.
As Dr. Bearing goes through the journey, we see her become less of a patient and more of a medical experiment. The only person who seems to show compassion or genuine interest is Nurse Monahan. She talks to Nurse Monahan and soon understands that death could be a reality sooner than later.
She begins to examine her life. She has flashbacks of different episodes and begins to think about how she handled her students and goes over conservations she had with her father and her mentor.
We witness the transition, or transformation, from the hard-bitten mistress of her poetic universe to hapless, powerless cancer victim is a sudden one; a little too abrupt. There were reams of monologue and dialogue with hard and big questions asked.
This play is imagined powerfully as well as being cuttingly funny. It is not primarily a play about cancer or the wit of John Donne. It is a play about the value of human warmth, the balance between head and heart, and life.
This performance featured the epicentre of a strong cast: Dr. Jessica Posner (Chantelle Jamison), Professor E.M Ashford (Jan Langford-Penny), Dr. Harvey Kelekian/ Mr. Bearing (Yannick Lawry), Sue Monahan (Hailey McQueen), Lab Technicians/Student Residents (Matt Abotomey, Nyssa Hamilton, and Shan-Ree Tan).
The play was comically slick, dramatically moving, showcases humour, tears and thought. It is also about life and human strength and self-awareness.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.