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WIT

by Margaret Edson

 

LIVE on the Mainstage

December 30, 2021-January 16, 2022

 

The Seeing Place Theater's carefully crafted, stylized production stars Erin Cronican, a real life Stage IV cancer patient in a heartfelt and searing portrayal of Vivian Bearing, who faces life's mysteries - and her humanity - head on after a devastating cancer diagnosis.

 

Email us for information about tickets...

 

 

This production is made possible, in part, by the support of the Puffin Foundation and with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC.

NOTE: You must be vaccinated in order to attend this event. Masking will also be required while in our facilities.

 

About WIT:

 

 

Content Warning: This play includes scenes depicting cancer treatment, physical side effects, emotional trauma, and death. There is also a brief moment of nudity. A talkback will be held after every performancve for those who would like to talk through their experiences with the play.

This production stars Erin Cronican, a real life Stage IV cancer patient in a heartfelt and intimate portrayal of Vivian Bearing.

Running time: approximately 100 minutes, no intermission

 

Synopsis:

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned professor of English who has spent years studying and teaching the brilliant and difficult metaphysical sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. Her approach to the study of Donne, and her cancer, is aggressively probing, intensely rational. But during the course of her illness—and her stint as a prized patient in an experimental chemotherapy program at a major teaching hospital—Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity and humor that are transformative both for her and the audience.

Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, and the Oppenheimer Award.

 

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CAST and CREATIVE TEAM:

 

Vivian Bearing, PhD   Erin Cronican*
Harvey Kelekian, MD, and others   Christopher James Murray
EM Ashford, DPhil, and others   Janice Hall*
Jason Posner, MD   Robin Friend
Susie Monahan, RN   Brynn Asha Walker*
     
     
Playwright   Margaret Edson
Director   Brynn Asha Walker
Stage Management   Mel Hardy
Producers   Erin Cronican and Brynn Asha Walker
Scenic/Costume/Prop Design   Erin Cronican
Lighting Design   Scott Monnin
Sound Design   Brynn Asha Walker
Projection Design   Phoenix Lion
Press Relations   Katie Rosin, Kampfire PR
Associate Producer - Outreach   William Ketter
Associate Producer - Fundraising   Laura Clare Browne
House Managers   Weronika Helena Wozniak and Miranda Hall Jimenez
Production Associate - Technical   Robin Friend
Marketing Associate - Social Media   Weronika Helena Wozniak
Marketing Associate - Digital Media   Kathleen Mary Carthy
Press Associate - Listings   Chance Casaus
Fundraising Associate - Sponsorships   Christopher Murray
     
   
* indicates member of Actors' Equity Association

 

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Production Photos - Click for Slideshow

 

(Photos by Russ Rowland. Click here or on the photo above for comprehensive photo gallery.)

 

(Photos of our Cancer Memorial Wall, inside our theater. Patrons were invited to leave a written tribute and light a candle.)

 

 

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Reviews and Audience Response for WIT:

 

“Searing Revival of WIT...particularly poignant...The Seeing Place Theater's off-off Broadway production exemplifies the expansive possibilities of small scale theater...a sharp turn by Robin Friend (Jason Posner)...a rich performace (as Susie) by director Brynn Asha Walker... and Cronican mesmorizes as the suffering scholar...This is a production you won't want to miss.” Jon Sobel, Blog Critics

“A must see production if there ever was one. The Seeing Place Theater has long been one of the best Off-Off-Broadway companies in New York City. Indeed, I wrote one of my first reviews about their fine version of THE PEOPLE VS ANTIGONE in 2018. At the time, I said they were a company to watch, and they have lived up to that standard in everything I’ve seen there since...Erin Cronican was unforgettable as Vivian Bearing, a heart-rending performance that has to be one of the finest and most engaging I’ve ever seen. I cried, my partner cried, and how often does that happen?” Jan Ewing, HI! Drama

“Brynn Asha Walker skillfully directed this production with a clear comprehension of Ms. Edson’s intention...Ms. Cronican makes insightful choices that allow the audience to empathize with Vivian...Don’t miss Erin Cronican’s riveting performance.” Dominick Danza, More Than The Play

“Bravery is the Soul of "Wit" - A riveting production...In the hands of TSP, Wit’s balance of pain and humor, of humanity and rigor, is handled deftly, and the result is a strikingly original and compelling staging of a play with which audiences may be familiar.” John R Ziegler and Leah Richards, Thinking Theater NYC

“Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Wit, an exquisitely literate and dramatically poignant piece  is in well-talented hands. The Seeing Place Theater production does the material proud...Cronican’s performance as Dr. Vivian Bearing is captivating, by turns imperious and arrogant, funny, and vulnerable...Wit is a beautiful play and is enjoying a beautiful production by The Seeing Place Theater. See and hear this production on its own merit. ” Christopher Caz, Theater Scene

“The Seeing Place company strives to achieve its laudable vision to “transform the world into a more empathetic and equitable place” with productions by and about, among other under-served cohorts, “people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.” To that end, WIT is an ideal choice...Cronican maneuvers effortlessly among Vivian’s realities...Walker’s direction keeps the piece running smoothly on the venue’s intimate playing area.” Philip Dorian, Scene On Stage

“I have followed The Seeing Place quite a bit over the years...WIT stars Erin Cronican, a terrific actress in the role. She’s amazing...Erin gets all of the nuances of this...I was also very, very impressed with Janice Hall.” Peter Filichia, Broadway Radio

“Very very powerful, and used backgrounds to great effect. I think WIT is perfect for streamed productions.” Jena Tesse Fox, This Week On Broadway

“If you're comfortable attending live theatre and you have $25 to spend, I urge you to see one of the three remaining performances (tonight at 7 and tomorrow at 2 and 7) of The Seeing Place Theater's beautiful production of Margaret Edson's Pulitzer-winner Wit. Erin Cronican, who is currently undergoing treatment for Stage IV cancer, is so moving playing a literature professor who uses an acerbic manner as a shield while undergoing aggressive treatment for Stage IV cancer. The intimate production is directed by Brynn Asha Walker, Cronican's spouse, who plays the compassionate nurse.” Michael Dale (Broadway World Critic) - via Facebook

“Masterful, Great acting, Profound, Must see, Riveting. One of the best shows I've seen this season. I was truly moved by this performance. A show that will make you question things and feel! The acting was one of the best I've ever seen, and the intimate space really enhanced the story. Knowing the background of the actors themselves really helped to enhance the story itself. I can not say enough good things about this show. I was so sad to have come on the last day of the performance, but have not been able to stop talking about this show. It left such an impression on me about both the good and evils of the medical industry, as well as questions regarding our own existence and the lives we touch and how we touch them. I would like to thank and congratulate the entire company on an incredible production!!”Andrew55, Show Score

“Thought-provoking, Must see, Masterful. Really great all around. One of the best shows I’ve seen.”L17838, Show Score

“Riveting, Intense, Absorbing. The show is amazing. The actors are great. The staging/projections...This is, literally, a "DO NOT MISS". The Seeing Place...You have a new fan.”Michael 6151, Show Score

“5 stars!! Intelligent, Riveting, Must see, Great writing, Absorbing. See it if you enjoy excellence in acting and writing. All the actors are professional and talented. Don't see it if you do not like clever and intelligent writing that makes you listen and think. A performance in excellence in acting, directing, and of course in writing. Very moving and even more relevant in today’s Covid times. The lead was superb.”Bob 7279, Show Score

“Moving, Profound, Relevant, Emotional, Great acting. See it if you want a stunning central performance, a talented ensemble, and a profoundly, beautifully human play that will move you and challenge you.”Casey 2001, Show Score

“100 out of 100. Resonant, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great staging, Great acting. An intimate, moving and timely production. Erin Cronican shines in the lead role, supported by a tremendous cast and brilliant staging.”Kelly 2002, Show Score

“100 out of 100. Go. See. WIT. (Extremely safe venue which is strictly following all Covid protocols.) Erin Cronican shares her exquisite heart & raw truth through her transformative performance. The supporting cast is gifted in kind. Bravo to the entire cast, crew, producers, director, and members of The Seeing Place Theater for this expansively beautiful piece of art. You will be deeply moved by the bravery, depth, and honesty shared by these creative artists. I am grateful to the cast and team for this incredibly moving creation. This review notes the bravery, depth, and honesty shared by these creative artists. But the truth is, you won’t truly understand it until you see it. ”Lisa Viggiano, via Facebook

“Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Profound. See it if you want to witness a brave performance by an actress with a unique insight into the role who will rivet your attention from start to finish. Note: Even though it's a small theater, it felt very safe. Seating is arranged to maximize social distance.”Coco 7187, Show Score

“Thought-provoking, Riveting, Profound, Masterful, Great acting. See it if you are touched by brilliant nuanced performances and intelligent dialogue with dry humor. This play is really a must see. Erin Cronican is a superb actress, and she brings to this leading role an intimate knowledge of the subject matter that shines through. You cannot help being enveloped by the musings and absorbed by the poetry that follows our heroine through her last few months of life. The particiption in the talk- back with the cast after the show was proof that every one of us in the audience related in a very personal way with the performance and likely grew because of it.”JS 7022, Show Score

“100 out of 100. Profound, Must see, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting.”JerryEDavisNY, Show Score

“100 out of 100. Thought-provoking, Resonant, Riveting, Great staging, Great acting. See it if You want to see incredibly talented performers dealing with a very difficult subject matter. Outstanding performances, directing, staging.”Cynstarlight, Show Score

“Ambitious, Great Acting, Intense, Profound, Thought-provoking. See it if you value great acting and important theater.”David 0044, Show Score

“The show made me feel so alive and grateful, I laughed until I cried. It is my reward for these two years of frustration and heartache. Thank you for incredible work. Being in the room was everything”Barbara Haas, via Facebook

“Must see, Masterful, Great staging, Absorbing. This scaled down, intimate production is beautifully directed with stellar performances and has much to say about the human condition. This production is highly effective because of the focus on the language and because it is performed in such an intimate setting, the result is a deeply moving and satisfying evening of theater. It will make you reevaluate how you choose to treat people and how precious time is.”Rian 2003, Show Score

“Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious. See it if you want to experience intimate drama that offers the opportunity for personal resonance & deep reflection on life, death & the in-between.”Suzanne Zee, Show Score

“Powerful, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing. If you want a beautifully written and very well acted intelligent play, this is for you.”Jerry 3, Show Score

“Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing. One of my favorite plays and this company did it justice. Good staging and lighting and of course great performances.”Leonardo 8149, Show Score

“Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Profound, Absorbing. See it if you want to see an intimate production of a great play starring an incredible actress. Erin Cronican is unbelievably brave to take on this role while fighting her own battle with late stage cancer. The whole company is wonderful and she's absolutely incredible.”Theatretruth, Show Score

“An incredibly brave and affecting performance by the lead actress who also has cancer. A small scale production that doesn’t feel lacking thanks to crisp, inventive staging. Must see production of a universally acclaimed play. Great acting. Riveting.”AJM, Show Score

“Great use of projections, Great direction, Great staging, Great writing, Great acting. See it if want to see a show that hits all of the marks necessary to make a show great. It is a little disturbing that the two best shows I've seen since the reopening have been Off-Off Broadway, including WIT.”Bill 6228, Show Score

“Riveting, Relevant, Profound, Great writing, Great acting. Wit is an inspirational story about an English professor suffering a terminal illness, performed by an outstanding cast on an interesting set. The content may be intense although some amazing poetry & dry humor is interspersed through the whole play. Echoing John Donne's sonnets, "Wit" suggests that death, like life, love and God cannot be rationally understood. Truthfully, I did not know what to expect, nor if I really wanted to go & see this play. I am glad I did: brave & talented Erin Cronican entirely captured my attention for 90 minutes. Well-written & definitely well-done!”Elisa 9119, Show Score

“Riveting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great writing. See it if you are a word nerd, and appreciate excellent performances and clever, if sometimes painful, writing about a difficult subject. Don't see it if you forgot your tissues.”Disco Yeti, Show Score

“A truly vulnerable performance and a fantastic production. I highly recommend going to see it in person. ”Melissa Moschitto, via American Theatre Mag's Facebook

“Just saw this production last night. It was phenomenal. Erin Cronican is a super star, and the whole ensemble did a fabulous job. Aside from being a stellar actor, the truth and lived experience that Erin brings to this production makes it next level. Well done all! And thank you to American Theatre magazine for highlighting this story and production.”Rachel Hirsch, via American Theatre Mag's Facebook

“Last night I went to see Wit. I saw it on Broadway with Cynthia Nixon and was floored by the power of the play. I experienced the same last night. A story about a woman, strong, self-assured and independent, a well-recognized scholar, it follows her through her months with stage 4 metastatic ovarian cancer. It’s funny and heartbreaking at the same time, pulls back the covers on the missteps in our health care system, and is a play you should see. Erin Cronican was amazing. She’s on stage the entire time and it’s difficult to take your eyes off of her. Her control of the words is expected, but it was her facial expressions that took my breath away. Erin understands this role on an intimate level, as she is engaged in her own battle with cancer but make no mistake, this is no pity party. This is a woman that sends out her roar as her body betrays her, and you can’t leave without knowing she’ll remain in your mind for a long, long, time. You still have time to see it in person and they are also going to live stream it next week. You shouldn’t let it pass by.”Adrian Miller, via Facebook

“NYC friends, please do yourself a favor and see Wit at The Seeing Place Theater. They have two shows left tomorrow (Sunday 1/16). The entire team, led by Erin Cronican and directed by Brynn Asha Walker, is truly brilliant. This is honestly what I think theatre should be about. It was an honor and inspiration to witness. Thank you for your brave storytelling.”Marissa Ghavami, via Facebook

“Bravo to Erin Cronican and the amazing cast of Wit. This stunning production is to me what indie theatre Is all about. Wonderful acting, great, storytelling, and real people living real situations on stage. What a beautiful production. So happy we braved the cold to go see this wonderful production. A few more shows through this weekend. Don't miss It!”Cynthia Shaw, via Facebook

“Such a memorable evening of theater and so many lessons about what it means to be human. I will remember this rest of my life. Thank you, Erin Cronican.”Rian Keating, via Facebook

“Limited performances left. Safe environment under our current circumstances. It’s regrettable to miss this honest, beautiful and deeply moving performance + story. Kudos and bravos to Brynn, Erin Cronican and her cast members for a life changing theater experience.”Shannon Wyant, via Facebook

“I saw Margaret Edson's play WIT last night at The Seeing Place Theater, featuring Erin Cronican and directed by her spouse Brynn Asha Walker- who also played a role along with a terrific supporting cast. The piece was transformative, as Erin and the rest of the cast navigated the very deep waters of metaphysical poetry (grappling with the questions posed in the text), Stage IV cancer, and the myriad and varied ways human beings choose to live their lives. You have five opportunities to get a ticket and go. Do it. The company is extremely careful in regards to Covid protocol, the ticket price is right, and the experience is important. Just go.”Carolyn Montgomery, via Facebook

 

And these anonymous patron reviews came in from members of Club Free Time:

A tremendously moving performance by excellent actors. Wonderful and needed message. A true “must see” performance.

This show is very moving, very real. Fantastic!

It was very unexpected experiment. Very frank show. Excellent acting.

Great play and production from acting to direction to design. One of those shows where everything comes together. I'm going to look for more work by this group.

First rate production from start to finish!

Amazing show! Great acting, and great staging. This show really makes you think. The Seeing Place theater has to be one of the best off-off Broadway theater groups in the city!

Incredible. The writing is just as powerful as when the play was new and the cast delivers an authentic performance from the depths of its soul. This play gives fundamental insight into the human condition. There is no better reason to spend an evening immersed in art.

Deep and thought-provoking play, with excellent acting.

Very well done. Be prepared to listen. A very intelligent production.

You feel and experience as if you are in the middle of a hospital room during an emotional interaction between patient-doctors- nurses. The presentation is so realistic.

WIT is an outstanding play that challenges our compassion and intellect! Stay for after-show discussion; it's well worth it!

Excellent production with excellent actors- especially the lead. Moving, entertaining, thought provoking. A most meaningful message given. See this wonderful show.

Moving nuanced performance by a group of very talented actors on a very important issue that anyone involved with Healthcare as a provider or consumer needs to see!

This show was fantastic. The acting was fabulous. The writing was perfect. The whole thing was extremely moving. This show was one of the best shows I’ve seen through club free time. If you need to pay full price to see this you should.

Excellent performances in a wonderful script. A moving and meaningful play. A very relevant message. Especially entertaining if you know Donne’s sonnets.

Very moving, important play, great acting, an intimate theatrical experience.

 

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Articles about WIT / Interviews:

 

American Theatre Magazine: Playing WIT on Borrowed Time (and FB Post)

Stage Buddy: Actor Erin Cronican on how it feels starring in WIT

Cancer Health Magazine: Playing a Woman With Metastatic Cancer When You Have Metastatic Cancer

Cancer Today Magazine: Cancer On and Off Stage

Sunday Morning with Michael Dale

Broadway Radio: This Week On Broadway

The Three Tomatoes: A Very Poignant Version of WIT

Broadway World: The Seeing Place Theater to Present Margaret Edson's WIT

Broadway Briefing: November 16, 2021

 

 

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Talkbacks for WIT:

 

The cast and creative team will be spending time each evening in a talkback with audiences to discuss their reactions to the play. All are welcome.

 

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The Seeing Place Theater is a 501c3 non-profit performing arts organization.
Your contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


 

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