Wrapping up ‘Wit’

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  • Dr. Harvey Kelekian (Nathan Seaman) and his residents spend a moment with cancer patient Dr. Vivian Bearing (Hope Pederson) in the play “Wit.”

  • Nathan Seaman M.D. playing Harvey Kelekian, Hope Pedersen playing Vivian Bearing Ph.D

  • Zachary Halsey playing Jason Posner M.D., Hope Pedersen playing Vivian Bearing Ph.D

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Tess Riecke, Staff Writer

Small theaters, like the Black Box, provide much more intimacy between actors and audience. Certain plays are meant to be performed in smaller settings and don’t do as well when on a full stage.

“Wit” was no exception.

Margaret Edson’s “Wit” was performed in the Black Box Theatre from Nov. 19-23.

I know my way around this play, having seen it in high school, but the two cannot be compared because the performance here at Wayne State College was simply outstanding.

Everything from the set design to the acting drew me in and kept me interested.

“Wit” is about the very independent and slightly abrasive Dr. Vivian Bearing, a scholar of John Donne’s poetry. She has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer and undergoes an experimental treatment to further medical science. The play is littered with Bearing narrating flashbacks to her classroom and other various moments in her life.

Hope Pedersen, a sophomore, played Vivian Bearing and nailed the character spot on. She was able to develop the character from the beginning as a callous woman to the end as someone who wished she had extended some kindness towards others.

Pedersen also did a superb job of developing Bearing as she grew more and more ill.

True to its title, the play involves a lot of wit and humor especially between characters. The chemistry between the actors is what made the humor exist.

Zachery Halsey, a junior, played Jason Posner M.D., who is a former student of Bearing’s.

Posner was able to keep up with the abrasiveness of Dr. Bearing. He didn’t care about having a bedside manner about as much as Bearing wanted it.

Both Halsey and Pedersen perfected their comedic timing and created a dynamic that was very believable.

Along with the amazing acting, the set was also well thought out. Most of the play takes place in a hospital but with easy transitions, the setting was able to change into a lecture-style classroom.

The shape of the black box is very intimate, which allowed the actors to get involved with the audience, adding to the humor of the show. When Posner is looking for one of the nurses named Susie (Abby Schademann), Halsey goes behind some of the elevated chairs and shouts into the audience, “Has anyone seen Susie?”

Most of Pedersen’s lines were monologues and she seemed to directly speak to the audience, which made it easier to follow along with what she was saying. A few times, I felt she made slightly awkward eye contact with me; however, that just added to the brilliance of Pedersen’s acting and the directing of Director Gwen Jensen.