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Centerstage to present ‘Wit’ at Cumberland University

Angie Mayes • Oct 10, 2018 at 7:34 PM

Centerstage Theatre Co., in partnership with Cumberland University, will present “Wit,” on Oct. 18-21 in the Black Box Theatre on the Cumberland University campus.

Director Mitchell Vantrease said the theatre is a second facility on campus, and they wanted to use the space for the show.

“This is in the basement of Phillips Dining Hall in the Mitchell Student Center,” he said. “It seats about 40 people.”
For theatre lovers, they will recognize “Wit” as an adult-orientated play that starred Cynthia Nixon on Broadway. The play won a Pulitzer prize in 1999. British actress Emma Thompson won an Emmy award for her performance in an HBO version of the play.

The play was written by Margaret Edson, and the 2001 movie was directed by Mike Nichols. Edson used her work experience in a hospital as part of the inspiration for her play.

The play is about someone in the “final stages of ovarian cancer,” Vantrease said. “Vivian [Bearing, the main character,] is telling her life story to people. It’s a small cast – just seven actors – and is a one-act that lasts 90 minutes.”

In the play, Vivian reflects on her life using wit in the poetry of John Donne, as well as specific points of the English language.

She undergoes chemotherapy treatments, which are designed to save her life. The treatments don’t work as expected, and she declines. While the play details her life, she often reflects back to people in her life, such as her father and Dr. E.M. Ashford, under whom Vivian was a student.

The play mixes visuals and some language that is not appropriate for children.

Vantrease said the play is for adults. Children should not be brought to the play, “because of the topic. The audience needs to fasten their seat belts as we press the pedal to the metal in this intense and witty play.”
“Wit” is the second show of Centerstage’s season.

“Once a season, we try to do a community outreach show,” Vantrease said. “We like to partner with people in the community. Because of that and the topic of the show, proceeds of the show will be donated to Sherry’s Run. We chose Sherry’s Run because they are very impactful in the community. I love what they stand for and what they do.”

Vantrease’s father died of cancer and, “I wish there was a Sherry’s Run that could have helped us. The way they treat cancer patients and help their families is absolutely fantastic. I am a 100-percent supporter of the organization. I wanted to do something that brought awareness to their organization.

The show will run Oct. 18-19 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 20-21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at brownpaperticket.com or Iddy and Oscars on the Lebanon Square.

Audience members may park near West Spring Street or South Greenwood Street parking lots on the Cumberland University campus.

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