Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the metaphysical sonnets of JohnDonne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. During the course of her illness, Vivian comes to reassess her life and herwork with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and the audience. Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Baynet, May 16, 2010: W;t - A Compelling Drama that Rivets the Audience
LEXINGTON PARK - 5/16/2010 By Andrea Hein
Colored lights flash. A woman in a hospital gown walks forward, pulling an IV drip on a pole with her. The woman wears a ball cap to cover her bald head, and informs the audience that she has stage IV metastatic ovarian cancer—and that there is no stage five.
This is the beginning of Margaret Edson’s W;t, a powerful play about life, death and the human condition. The main character, Vivian Bearing, PhD, is a teacher and scholar of seventeenth century poetry, particularly the metaphysical works of John Donne. Vivian possesses an incomparable knowledge of her subject matter, and has little patience for those who don’t fully devote their intellectual ability to the teachings at hand.
The Enterprise, May 28: With one weekend left, ‘W;t' abounds inside Three Notch Theater
Friday, May 28, 2010 By DICKSON MERCER Staff writer
Margaret Edson's "W;t" shows us the last hours of Dr. Vivian Bearing,an enigmatic English professor who has lived through eight, month-long, high-dose cycles of radiation for metastatic ovarian cancer.
Within a black set, amidst hospital beds and examination tables, Vivian, the protagonist and narrator, guides us through the past and present and tells us what's to come. It is not her intention to give away the plot, Vivian says, though she's fairly sure she dies.
Last Friday, the cover of Southern Maryland Weekend described this play as "a heavy hitter, an unflinchingly austere, modern drama." On Sunday, I saw how I'd missed the mark.
The Enterprise, May 21, 2010: In her NTP debut, Diaz delivers Vivian, and through her 'W;t'
Friday, May 21, 2010 By DICKSON MERCER Staff writer
"W;t" (or "Wit") was written by Margaret Edson, a kindergarten teacher living in Atlanta. It was her first play.
The drama debuted in California in the mid-1990s and was next performed in New Haven, Conn., with Kathleen Chalfant performing the lead role: Dr. Vivian Bearing, a 50-year-old English professor undergoing an experimental, and ultimately doomed, radiation therapy for metastatic ovarian cancer. Chalfant reprised the part in 1998 when the play debuted Off-Broadway, received great reviews and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and more.
Now it's onstage at Three Notch Theatre. Dawna Diaz, 47, of Great Mills, a mission controller at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, has the lead role, as a hardboiled scholar of 17th-century English poetry and John Donne's Holy Sonnets. Vivian has chosen pure criticism, a kind untainted by emotion, over people, and seems to have no relationships of any kind. Her course is the hardest on campus.
W;t Editorial, The Enterprise, June 4: A high-quality show to savor
I recently attended The Newtowne Players production of "W;t" in Lexington Park. Unlike most plays, it did not attract a large audience, the subject matter being perhaps difficult for some, and not really light entertainment. May I say however, it was probably the best performance I have seen at the theater. It was well written and well interpreted.
I sincerely hope that, although it may not have been a box office smash, the theater group will not shy away from this type of show. Put on the usual fare of money-making entertainment most of the year, but please once in a while give us a show of this quality to savor.