In theatre, things don’t always go as expected, but, as the old saying goes, “the show must go on.” This mantra certainly proved true in the case of North Carolina Theatre’s production of Wit, for which the original leading lady, Judy McLane, bowed out of the role before opening night, citing personal reasons.
Fortunately, the talented Kate Goehring was available to step in as Vivian Bearing, a professor who finds out she has ovarian cancer and who comes to terms with her disease through humor, intelligence, and a healthy dose of anger. Any concerns about the original leading actress are eliminated once Goehring takes the stage and brings Dr. Bearing to full and beautiful life.
In fact,the feelings and emotions surrounding Bearing’s battle, which are so beautifully portrayed by Goehring, are what makes this show so honest and believable, and they are also what shines through.
Since it was first produced in 1995, Wit has been celebrated for its strong writing and characterization, and both of those things are front and center on NCT’s stage with Goehring to bring them to life. She is joined by Daisy Eagan, who portrays nurse Susie Monahan, a woman who, unlike many of the many other medical professionals in the play, is focused on her patients as real, breathing people. Eagan and Goehring share a sad but beautiful chemistry in their heart-wrenching roles.
Directed by Kate Galvin, this production is as somber as its subject matter, featuring dark lighting to set the mood and tone, and steering clear of bright colors in general. There is nothing big, distracting, or over-the-top here; Galvin is not afraid to let author Margaret Edson’s strong, honest writing shine through and to let that and the characters be the focus of this production.
Wit will not leave viewers with the “warm fuzzies,” but it will certainly make them think and, more importantly than that, make them feel, which is the main goal of this piece.
The North Carolina Theatre presents WIT, starring Kate Goehring as Vivian Bearing, PhD, and Daisy Eagan as Susie Monahan, RN, BSN, at 7:30 p.m. May 5 and 6 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 7 and 8 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or http://www.nctheatre.com/tickets/season-tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/804543.
PRESENTER: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.
2015-16 SEASON: http://nctheatre.com/show-season/201516-season.
NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7th, performance.
Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winning 1998 Off-Broadway and 2012 Broadway play): http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=2834 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/Production/842 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.ibdb.com/Show/View/490593 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wit_%28play%29 (Wikipedia).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Study Guide: http://faculty.smu.edu/tmayo/witguide.htm (Madison Repertory Theatre of Dallas, TX).
Margaret Edson (Atlanta, GA playwright and teacher, born 1961): http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/margaret-edson-b-1961 (New Georgia Encyclopedia), http://www.lortel.org/Archives/CreditableEntity/3125 (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/111635 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0249682/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Edson (Wikipedia).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.