Thursday, January 20, 2011

Margaret Edson's Wit in Salem

It has not been an easy week in Salem.  Last week we painted the town yellow for Cervical Cancer awareness, and this week the Salem Theatre Company tackles Stage 4 Metastatic Ovarian Cancer (that just feels like these should be capitalized) when it opens Margaret Edson's Wit, directed by Sarah Carlin, tonight.  I'm a bit nervous to ask what next week will bring.

Mary Niederkorn as Vivian Bearing, PhD. in Wit
I am so happy I got to see Wit last night.  The Pulitzer Prize winning play has been on my wish list since it first took the theater world by storm in the late 90s, and I am so glad that I was able to see it last night.  The performances in Salem Theatre Company's production of Wit were beautifully delivered. 

Wit is true art because each personal perspective is going to leave the theater with a different opinion. Some cheer life, some are saddened by death, some find a renewed frustration from diagnoses and treatments that they or the people they love have wrestled with. 

The cast transports you into the life of Vivian Bearing, PhD, led by the wonderful Mary Niederkorn. She connects with the audience in a way that is natural and inviting, bringing us all that much closer to her story.  I always enjoy Stephen Cooper, who plays Dr. Kelekia, on the stage at Salem Theater Company.  As I said, I've never seen Wit before, so I can't compare these performances to others, but I can assure you that I was entranced by the story and convinced by the performances.  The intimate size and nature of the Salem Theatre Company makes emotional connections with these actors unavoidable. We laugh, we learn, we feel awkward and sad and scared. 

So, go see Wit. Not because it is going to give you a couple of hours of mindless escape, but because it will make you feel and think and, I hope, toast life. 

Wit opens on January 20 with a special opening night performance to benefit Hospice of the North Shore and Salem Theatre Company. All tickets to the Opening Night show are $35.  It then runs through February 12 with Thursday-Saturday shows at 7:30 PM and Sunday shows at 3:00 PM. 

On Thursday, January 27, there is a post-show talk-back (question/answer session) with the cast and director.  Sunday, January 23 at 3:00 PM, they are allowing you to "Pay what you will" for the performance.

Other than Opening Night and January 23, tickets are $22 adults, $18 seniors, and $12 students.
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