Those who want to get a look at Margaret Edson's Wit before it comes to New York this fall should get up to Lenox, MA's Shakespeare & Company, where a production of the play runs through Sept. 6.
Wit won the L.A. Critics Circle Award for Edson's humorous and harrowing study of the journey of English Literature professor Vivian Bearing through her bout with ovarian cancer. Wit also won several Connecticut Critics Circle Awards (including Outstanding Production) for its 1997 mounting at the Long Wharf Theatre. That production, directed by Derek Anson-Jones, will transfer to Manhattan Class Company with mostly the same cast (including Kathleen Chalfant), Sept. 9-Oct. 4. (Wit, by the way, will also get a staging at WA's Seattle Rep in `99-00.)
Wit is Edson's first play, based in part on her experiences working at the AIDS Inpatient Unit of the National Institutes of Health. Today Edson teaches first grade in Washington, DC.
Starring in the Shakespeare & Company mounting are the troupe's artistic director Tina Packer, Dennis Krausnick, Francis West (as Dr. Bearing), Elizabeth Aspenlieder, John Beale, Marybeth Bentwood, Josef Hansen and Marc Scipione. Director Daniela Varon says of the play, "Like John Donne's poetry, Wit explores nothing less than life, death and eternal life. It also explores the difference between examining these themes intellectually and confronting them experientially."