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Group returns with ‘Wit’
Show opens Thursday at Playhouse
WIT 6 jd
Vivian Bearing, played by Elizabeth Blakemore, remembers when she first knew that she wanted to be a literature professor as her father, played by David Beaudry, reads the paper. - photo by Jim Dean

At a glance

“Wit” runs through Aug. 22 at the Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St. Showtimes are 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15.

Contact: (770) 781-9178 or

The script for “Wit” struck a chord with Jim Dailey.

The story of a renowned professor’s struggle with terminal ovarian cancer is not an easy one to tell, Dailey said. But he believes the message of the play, which begins tonight at the Cumming Playhouse, will resound with audiences.

“It would be very easy for us to put on a comedy, but I think this is something that has a lot of meaning and a lot of impact,” said Dailey, the show’s director. “Cancer touches so many people in so many different ways, I just thought it was a unique way of spinning it and spinning a person’s contact with it.”

“Wit” is the Old Alabama Road Theatre Company’s second production at the playhouse this year. The first, “A Company of Wayward Saints,” was a successful comedy, said playhouse director Linda Heard.

“But we do serious things at the playhouse,” she said. “A lot of people will come out that maybe have experienced a serious illness or know someone that might have been diagnosed.

“Sometimes it gives you courage to see someone else who has gone through it.”

Watching his own friends and family members deal with cancer is why Dailey said he is so attached to the play.

He was expecting his job to be difficult, given his personal experience, but said it wasn’t until the final week of rehearsals that he struggled with the story.

“This past week, because I’m trying to ... give it to the actors and put it in their hands, so I’m more of a spectator at this point,” he said. “I actually broke down and started crying.

“My actors were laughing at me, but at that point it hit me a lot harder than whenever we first started the show.”

“Wit” features an eight-member cast and stars Elizabeth Blakemore as Vivian Bearing, the English professor diagnosed with cancer.

Dailey said he’s worked with Blakemore in the past as a co-actor, but didn’t have her in mind when he first started auditions.

“But she rocked that audition,” he said. “I thought she had a good grasp of the character and she’s an amazingly talented woman. I thought she’d be perfect.”

The Old Alabama Road Theatre Company has prepared a special event for tonight’s opening performance.

Following the show there will be a dessert reception in the playhouse library, including a raffle of items and services to help raise funds for the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

Dailey said 100 percent of the proceeds from the show and event will go to the alliance. Representatives from the nonprofit public outreach organization will also be at the event, providing information on ovarian cancer and detection.

“We pride ourselves on being a community theater and part of being a member of the community is giving back where needed,” Dailey said. “This is just part of being a member of the community.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at