Thunder vs. Bulls: Five takeaways from OKC's win vs. ChicagoMillwood High School pulls basketball team off court amid COVID 'super-spreader' at Community Christian

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

'W;T': A play on life, death and punctuation

Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s production of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize winning drama “W;t” by Margaret Edson was a harrowing look into the ideas of intellectualism versus humanity. Directed by Michelle De Long, the piece examines the degrading potentials of medical progress.

The play begins with Vivian Bearing, a stringent and highly academic English Poetry professor, recalling her diagnosis of stage four metastatic ovarian cancer. She is given the option of taking a taxing eight-month experimental cancer treatment and agrees to the regimen. As we follow her through her treatment she is seen less as a human and more as a case to be researched. She struggles to find her humanity among the doctors and researchers, and recreates memories from her past to help understand the quandary of life and death, of which she has spent so much of her intellectual life.

Rachel Irick was mesmerizing as the guarded and often cerebrally pompous Vivian Bearing. Irick, defaulting to an air of sophistication and presentation, forced the audience to play the role of students in a lecture hall. Irick presented an individual who was proud and tough only to break her down to the most basic childlike emotiveness and it is a credit to her and her performance. Eric Starkey played the distanced and highly analytical Dr. Kelekian. Facing difficult situations with an awkward handshake and an unsure smile, there was never a pleasant moment when the doctor was present and it gives credit to Starkey’s abilities onstage. As Bearing’s own English professor, Jeanie Cooper plays Professor E.M. Ashford with vibrant passion and animated life. Even coming back as an aged great-grandmother her performance was spectacular and deeply moving. Rett Terrell was real and reserved as the brilliant research oncologist fellow Jason Posner. Almost as a mirror image of Kelekian, Terrell gives a defensive but passionate performance. Bill Brewer appears as Bearing’s father, giving a delicate air to the touching scene in which Bearing begins her love of words and the English language.

The piece seemed like one long memory, which is a great credit to director Michelle De Long. Using a minimalist set, the stage begins grey and bare. Essential elements are added and removed as needed throughout the piece. There were several ingenious conventions created through lighting and creative sound design that helped to truly form the atmosphere of a hospital and all of its medical equipment. With the exception of a delayed sound effect, there was hardly a moment out of rhythm in the piece.

The production drives from beginning to end with the cast breathing life, medically speaking, into a beautiful script. With this fine cast, deft direction, and an award winning script it is indeed a show worth seeing. The play runs through January 18th at the Cityspace Theatre in the Oklahoma City Civic Center. Shows are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 with a Sunday matinee at 2:00. You can buy tickets online at or by calling the box office at (405) 297-2264.