Newman University will present Wit, a play written by Margaret Edson that offers a poignant and at times amusing look at how end-of-life care is dealt with as seen through the eyes of a renowned English professor diagnosed with terminal cancer. The play will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 – 20, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 20. All shows will be in the Performance Hall inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus. Tickets are $10 general public, $5 for students at college level or below with ID, and free to Newman students with ID. Tickets will be available at the door before each performance.
Wit has been described as a haunting play that looks at the paradox between the complexity and simplicity of dying. “Nothing but a breath – a comma – separates life from the everlasting,” the lead character Vivian says in the play. “It is very simple really.”
Vivian is a professor of 17th-century English poetry who has been an uncompromising scholar and demanding teacher. She has allowed herself little time to cultivate personal relationships. Vivian has devoted her life to the study of John Donne’s poetry, which uses wit to revel in the complexity of life and God issues, rather than trying to resolve them. She approaches her illness in the same way that she approached the study of Donne – aggressively, intensely, rationally, and with the wit that is associated with his work.
But now, enduring a painful experimental treatment for cancer, she is looking for a kind of spiritual strength that will ease her suffering. She must venture beyond her intellectual world to come to terms with her death and learns through the simple act of human kindness, that this is not a complicated battle, but simplicity itself, if one allows it.
In Wit, award-winning playwright Margaret Edson has created a work that is as challenging intellectually as it is emotionally. Like Donne, Wit is both profound and humorous, and will transform the audience as it transforms Vivian.
The production includes several Newman University students as well as faculty members Steven Dunn, associate professor of education, and Deanne Zogleman, director of choral music.
For more information, contact Zogleman at 942-4291, ext. 2196 or [email protected].