“Wit” pays tribute to student, parent cancer victims

Photo: Jacob Peeples
Sophomore Margo Valadie and seniors Ellie Babb, Noah Woods and Teddrick Boyd perform a scene during one of their final dress rehearsals. The four individuals played a hospital technician, Dr. Vivian Bearing, Dr. Jason Posner and Dr. Harvey Kelekian, respectively.

Carolyn Lane, News Editor

“Everyone knows someone who has had a tough battle with cancer but we don’t understand their pain,” sophomore Fe Novoa said. “At least I didn’t until ‘Wit.’”

On Feb. 19, 20 and 21, “Wit,” the upper and middle school winter play, ran at the St. George’s Performing Arts Center at the Germantown Campus. “Wit” follows the story of Vivian Bearing, an old woman diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, and it details her attempts to deal with the life-threatening disease.

The “Wit” performances were dedicated to members of the St. George’s family who struggled with their fights against cancer, including Mr. Peter Whitehead, Carson Head and Ms. Donna Driscoll.

While preparing for the performance, Director Gia Broadway worked with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital to obtain the props and most of the costumes for the performance, including IV bags, a hospital bed and blue scrubs.

After all the props were found, the actors and actresses often found it difficult to work with the medical gear. During the practices leading up to the performance, Ms. Broadway asked members of the St. George’s family who were also nurses to assist with the newly obtained props.

“We had gotten the IV and all this stuff, but we didn’t know how to use it yet,” sophomore and staff writer Emma Pounders said. “Ms. Whitehead had to show me how to use the IV.”

Though the actors and actresses found a way to work with the hospital props, the cast still ran into problems with other aspects of the play, such as senior Ellie Babb’s bald cap. The bald cap refused to stay on during performances, despite additional help.

“The bald cap was an atrocity even with the professional help,” Pounders said. She noted that Babb even stopped her from removing the hat covering the bald cap during the performance on Saturday night because it had started to fall off.

In terms of set design, Mr. Jordan Wells came up with the idea to project three different pictures on screens above the actors’ heads, and this idea was implemented by sophomores Shynia Smith and Merryn Ruthling backstage. In order to achieve this effect, they perfectly aligned photos via a black powerpoint screen and then projected that onto the back wall of the stage.

Unlike past performances, students performed without the use of a personal microphones, including the main characters. Instead, three microphones were placed in front of the stage designed to elevate character’s sound level.

Besides changes in set and lighting, “Wit” also deals with more serious subject matter. Senior and web editor Grant Webb, as well as most of the cast, noticed that the differences and elected to treat the play differently than those they had in the past.

“We had to treat it like super professionally because of how heavy of a topic it was,” Webb said. “We didn’t put up with tomfoolery.”

Though the curtain has officially closed for “Wit,” auditions will begin for the upper school spring comedy, “Fools,” directly after spring break.