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Screening of ‘Wit’ is part of Syracuse Symposium’s focus on The Journey at the End of Life
Screening of ‘Wit’ is part of Syracuse Symposium’s focus on The Journey at the End of LifeOctober 27, 2003Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
The Syracuse Symposium 2003: “Journeys” will feature a screening of the 2001 production of “Wit” (HBO Films) on Oct. 29 at 7:15 p.m. in Kittredge Auditorium, located in Syracuse University’s Huntington Beard Crouse Hall. The event is part of the symposium’s focus on “The Journey at the End of Life,” and is free and open to the public.
The screening will be followed by a discussion led by Robert Moss, artistic director of Syracuse Stage, and Dr. Joel Potash, associate professor at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University’s Center for Bioethics and Humanities.
Adapted from Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Wit” chronicles the personal awakening of a longtime literary scholar Vivian Bearing (portrayed by two-time Oscar-winner Emma Thompson), who learns the importance of simple human kindness when faced with the most daunting of crises-a diagnosis of advanced cancer.
Vivian is a 48-year-old professor specializing in the forbidding work of 17th-century metaphysical poet John Donne. With biting humor and wit, Vivian approaches her illness as she would one of Donne’s sonnets, aggressively probing and intensely rational.
However, over the course of eight months of high-dose chemotherapy, and several flashbacks to her childhood and teaching years, Vivian sees many of the smug assumptions about her life and legacy explode in the face of her growing dependency on others.
Moss is in his eighth season as artistic director of Syracuse Stage, which presented a production of and discussion on “Wit” during its 2002-03 season. Moss has directed numerous Syracuse Stage productions, and served as the artistic director of the Hanger Theatre for 15 years. He founded Playwrights Horizons theatre in New York City in 1971 and served as its producing director for 10 years. Under his guidance, Playwrights Horizons produced new plays by more than 150 American writers. Potash practiced family medicine in Cazenovia from 1966-75, then spent 18 years as an associate professor in Upstate’s Department of Family Medicine. In 1998, he studied medical ethics in the Department of Religion at the University of Virginia and subsequently served as medical director of Hospice of Central New York from 1989-2002. Potash is also a physician at the Onondaga Nation Health Center and a senior ethics consultant at University Hospital. He is certified by the American Board of Family Physicians and the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is also an Education of Physicians in End-Of-Life-Care trainer for the American Medical Association.
The Syracuse Symposium, presented for the University by The College of Arts and Sciences, is an annual intellectual festival celebrating interdisciplinary thinking, imagining and creating. The 2003 theme is “Journeys:” journeys of exploration and discovery, intellectual journeys, mythical and artistic journeys, migrations of peoples, exiles, liberations, pilgrimages and more. The series includes lectures, exhibits, performances and other special events.