A striking and sharply funny reflection on the frailty of existence and the complex relationship between knowledge and love. Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., a renowned specialist in the brilliantly difficult Holy Sonnets of John Donne, has been diagnosed with stage four metastatic ovarian cancer. Her approach to her illness is not unlike her approach to Donne: aggressively probing and intensely rational.
But during the course of her illness – and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy programme – she comes to reassess her life and her work with profundity and an unbearably moving wry humour.
Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Wit was first performed in 1995. It was filmed for TV by Mike Nichols in 2001, starring Emma Thompson (who also wrote the screenplay).
‘Cuts deep… a coruscating metaphor for all our helpless efforts to orchestrate our lives, despite our awareness of our mortality’ – The Times
‘Delightfully funny and deeply moving … its final radiant moment is breathtaking’ – Independent
‘Truly wonderful – emotionally battering, yes, but very funny, never mawkish and ultimately exultant’ – Telegraph
‘Edson’s writing has its harrowing moments but it is never maudlin … A genuinely life-enhancing play about death’ – Guardian
‘heart-battering… as glorious and cathartic as theatre gets’ – The Stage
‘An original and urgent work of art. Among the finest plays of the decade’ – Wall Street Journal
‘A dazzling and humane play you will remember until your dying day’ – New York Magazine
Pulitzer Prize for Drama