Producers Rory Platt and Olivia Ouwehand came across Wit when part of the text was set for an exam and again, when studying the works of John Donne. For them, the play has a thematic relevance to people in an academic environment, such as Oxford. In the play, Vivien and medical researcher Jason Posner represent a world of dispassionate observation, analysis and intellectual rigour: the world of the mind. At the other end of the scale is Susie, Vivien’s nurse, who represents sympathy and compassion when it’s the middle of the night and you’re scared and in pain: the world of the heart. As the play progresses, and Vivien approaches death, she moves towards the centre ground, where head and heart meet.
Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit is an ambitious choice for a student group. The play runs for 90 minutes without an interval and the central character is on stage the whole time. Full marks, then, for the Trinity Players who rose to the challenge in what is clearly a team effort. Emily Troup, in her first stage appearance, has got to grips with the emotionally demanding role of Vivien Bearing, a strong and, at times, unlikeable woman, who is also vulnerable and frightened. Andy Butler (Dr Posner) and Doug Grant (Dr Kelekian) made convincing medics, although their attempts to talk in that rapid-fire way that medics have needed to be a bit sharper to prevent it sounding slightly garbled. Claudia King gave an outstanding performance as the nurse, Susie, whilst amongst the supporting actors special mention must go to Sonia Jacobson for her convincing portrayal of elderly academic Professor Ashford.
Wit is a superb play which deserves to be more widely known on this side of the Atlantic; this Trinity Players production does full credit to the text.