Marty Norton as Vivian Bearing; photo courtesy of Richie Akers
Giving Tree Theater — Jan. 1–10, 2016 at 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. and 2 p.m. Sun.
Opening this Friday on New Year’s Day, Giving Tree Theater in Marion is producing Margaret Edson’s 1995 drama Wit (sometimes given as W;t), a transformative piece that will carry audiences into 2016.
It follows the final story of Vivian Bearing, an English professor diagnosed with ovarian cancer, who agrees to undergo experimental treatment for it. Bearing is a methodical, particular woman when it comes to both teaching and life, but when she finds herself under the studious and analytical care of teaching hospital doctors more interested in her as a test subject than a patient, she begins to ponder the value of kindness and the place it has in her life.
Set in contrast (and with frequent reference) to the metaphysical poetry of John Donne that the character has spent her life studying, Wit explores the line between intellectual rigor and detachment, and the profound desire for connection that becomes more keen towards the end of life.
Giving Tree’s production stars Cedar Rapids’ Marty Norton as Bearing. The cast also includes Brian Schlotfelt, John Miersen, Mariah Schlueter, Betty Coté, Jake Stigers, Kyle Shedeck, Tamra Williams and Emma Drtina. Heather Akers directs. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1999, Wit is Edson’s only play. It runs through Jan. 10 at Giving Tree, and is sponsored by Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids.