Every so often in the theatre, one chances to experience a perfect production, where a thoughtful, sensitive and erudite playwright creates a stunning, multi-layered story and the director, ensemble and craftspeople take it to its ultimate effect. The Denver Center Theatre Company's production of Wit is such a production.
Margaret Edson, a literary scholar who teaches kindergarten in Atlanta, has, in her first effort, not only won the Pulitizer Prize and Best Play from the New York Drama Critics, but also written a work for the ages.
Wit revolves around Doctor Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of literature, who specializes in the sophisticated metaphysical poetry of John Donne. At the age of 50, Dr. Bearing is diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.
Edson's text, which mixes the lofty transcendental musings of one of the world's greatest poets with the visceral, gut-wrenching reality of an insidious disease, and the nuts and bolts of a difficult story with the recurring sentimental memories of sensitive, but hard nosed teacher, is nothing short of phenomenal.
In the greatest of her many fine performances at the Denver Center, Annette Held, head shaven, clad only in a medical gown, moves effortlessly, yet with the deepest emotion, spiritual rapture, and heart rendering pain, through this complex and heroic role.
She is supported with well-shaped performances by John Innes as the senior physician, Aaron Serotsky, as the young researcher, Leslie O'Carroll as the nurse, and Jane Welch, as the wizened old professor and dear friend.
The Denver Center Theatre Company's production of Margaret Edson's Pulitizer Prize winning drama Wit, runs through April 21st. 303-893-4100.