Logo - WitWit
by Margaret Edson

January 4 - 26, 2002
Directed by Linda Parrish

In her extraordinary first play, Margaret Edson has created a work that is as intellectually challenging as it is emotionally immediate.

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English Literature who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliant and difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.

Her approach to the study of Donne is aggressively probing and rational. But during the course of her illness - and her stint in an experimental chemotherapy program - the fearsome teacher becomes herself a subject to be taught to medical students. The irony is that her doctors are too much like her - more interested in research than in people. Vivian's ongoing treatment gives her the opportunity to take stock of her life, and ultimately the story becomes her spiritual journey.


All along the way, various producers called it a tough sell. Cancer, an English literature professor and John Donne poetry? Yet all over the country, audiences and critics alike have raved about the play's tough honesty and have been surprised by the humor that the playwright sprinkles throughout. The play has become the most lauded play of the last decade, if not the entire 20th century. By the time playwright Margaret Edson picked up Newsday's 1999 Oppenheimer Award for best new American playwright, she had already taken home the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for drama and best play awards from the N.Y. Drama Critics Circle, the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League, the Dramatists Guild, the L.A. Drama Critics and the Lucille Lortel (Off-Broadway's equivalent of the Tony Award).


At the time of the play's New York debut, Ms. Edson was a kindergarten teacher in Atlanta and her theatrical experience was limited to high school acting. WIT grew out of her experiences working as a physical therapy aid and a unit clerk in a teaching hospital in Washington D.C. in 1985. As she watched patients and medical personnel, she became intrigued by the notion of writing about someone who moves from a position of power to one of dependency. After a first reading in her mother's home in 1991, the play was rejected by numerous theatres around the country before California's West Coast Repertory Theater produced it to high acclaim in 1995. The Long Wharf Theatre in Connecticut produced it in 1997 before it opened in New York at the MCC Theater the following year.

Audience Guide - an excellent source of background information on the history of the play, the playwright, ovarian cancer, and the poetry of John Donne. 
Audience Guide © August 21, 2000, Madison Repertory Theatre




Vivian Bearing, Ph.D.

  Angie Duke
Harvey Kelekian, M.D.
& Mr. Bearing
  Nick Backes
Jason Posner   Wyatt Hamilton
Susie Monahan, R.N.   Sheryl Martin
E.M. Ashford   Elnora Cullinan
Lab Technicians, Students, & Residents   Jennifer Coon
Marissa Pace
Adrian Thompson


Director   Linda Parrish
Tech. Director   Steven Gillmore
Lighting Design   Dustin Mars
Stage Manager & Sound Operator   Bob Bates
Costumes   Susan Small
Light Operator   Phil Carlton
Spotlights   Risa Wilkinson
Shane Schnetzler
Set Painters   Laura Sullivan
Steven Gillmore
Poster Design   Phil Carlton


Conrad Ballaré of EMSA - Dr. Ralph Shadid - Marjie Shadid - Denise Burton - Jan Osban - Doug Getzoff - Dottie DeLeon - UCO Theatre Department - Terry Veal - Jon Womastek - Ron Martin - Mary Freeh - OCU's Kramer School of Nursing - Dennis Gimmel of OU Health Sciences Center - Tim Baker, OCU - Anna Patton of The Egyptian - Lisa of Life Uniforms - Life Uniform & Shoe Shop - OK Rehab

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.


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