Pin It
Favorite

THEATER REVIEW | Wit 

click to enlarge Diana Trotter (left) and Dave Rideout in Wit. - GEORGE GREEN
  • George Green
  • Diana Trotter (left) and Dave Rideout in Wit.

"Death be not proud, though some have called thee/ Mighty and dreadfull," says Dr. Vivian Bearing, quoting aloud in Wit from John Donne's famous 17th century sonnet. Dr. Bearing — to her, her title is paramount — is an expert on Donne and, of far greater importance, is facing death from ovarian cancer.

Though death be not proud, Dr. Bearing (played by a gaunt-faced, shaven-headed Diana Trotter) certainly is: a smug, haughty woman, quick to remind us of her intellectual superiority, her academic success, her unflagging rigor in teaching and research. When she steps onstage for her opening fourth-wall-razing monologue — barefoot, ball-capped, dressed in that uniform of abasement, the hospital gown — there's nothing humble about her. She grips her wheeled IV stand like a scepter. She mocks the insulting superficiality of the bedside manner of Dr. Posner (Brandon Montang) and nurse Susie (Janelle Frisque) with her own insults.

One of Dr. Bearing's complaints is the dehumanizing aspect of her medical treatment; but to be fair, she barely seems human herself. That is partly intentional. In an overt parallel to her literary hero, she takes refuge in intellectual acrobatics rather than confront her own mortality. But at times her revelatory journey seems like an academic exercise in itself, with just enough pedantic discourse on poetry to massage the pretensions of Pulitzer judges, and the linguistic equivalent of name-dropping to feed popular ivory-tower stereotypes.

As Dr. Bearing's disease spreads and its experimental treatment destroys what remains of her body, her sneering becomes self-pity, which does little for her likability. When it comes, her death invites sorrow because all death invites sorrow, not because she will be mourned by anyone as "my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song," in the words of a more contemporary poet.

Wit's dialogue is dense enough on the page, let alone memorized and spoken, and Trotter's mastery of it is admirable, although her pinpoint enunciation can make her character seem overly stiff. This production, directed by Troy Nickerson, errs on the side of theatricality when some naturalism is in order, but on the whole it still packs the necessary punch.

Wit • Thu-Sat, 7:30 pm; Sun, 2 pm; through March 9 • $11-$17 • Lake City Playhouse • 1320 E. Garden Ave., Coeur d'Alene • lakecityplayhouse.org • (208) 667-1323

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Holiday Hype
  • Holiday Hype

    Before Thanksgiving is even here, Spokane hosts three big Christmas-themed shows
    • Nov 19, 2014
  • Culture Digest
  • Culture Digest

    TV | History Problems
    • Nov 19, 2014
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    Weed delivery, an anti-carol, and noises that give you the heebie-jeebies.
    • Nov 19, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical @ INB Performing Arts Center

Wed., Nov. 26, 7 p.m., Fri., Nov. 28, 1, 4 & 7 p.m., Sat., Nov. 29, 11 a.m., 2 & 7 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 30, 2 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by E.J. Iannelli

  • Modern Times
  • Modern Times

    Arising out of the Interplayers/Lake City Playhouse merger, the Modern Theater is off to an auspicious start
    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Go Directly to Jail
  • Go Directly to Jail

    The Clink, a musical about a young woman's brief stint in jail, is back in a full production
    • Oct 29, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Top Tags in
Culture & Food

Culture


last word


for your consideration


Digest


Food


© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation