Performance of 'Wit' by Margaret Edson

Deborah Jane Griffiths (Performer)

Research output: Non-textual formTheatre PerformanceOther


This project used a production of Margaret Edson’s Pultizer winning play, ‘W;t’, as a performative way of exploring the suffering body on stage, and the implications theatrical incarnation can have for empathy in audiences.
While the play has been used frequently in the USA as a text in narrative medicine and the training of medical students, there are no recorded instances of a production which specifically linked the text’s theatrical incarnation in a wider project on performance and empathy.
This production, at the curated venue FortyfiveDownstairs, was the first professional production of the play in Australia (an amateur production had been staged in Sydney’s New Theatre in 2010).
The project asked ‘What are the boundaries of the performative body on stage and how is empathy created through theatrical embodiment?’ This research question extended to interrogate the broader question of the differences between empathetic and sympathetic engagement through mimetic practice as opposed to lived experience.
In addition to the performative exploration of the research question, the project interrogated the area through post-show interaction with audiences and through a forum with Ovarian Cancer Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication45Downstairs, Melbourne
Size90 mins
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • theatre
  • pain
  • narrative medicine
  • cancer
  • performance
  • empathy

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