Dibbell moves audience with drama relating to self
October 15, 1999
For viewers who are not familiar with cancer and who are not aware of
what to expect, "Wit" provided a fairly well-rounded perspective
on what occurs in the life of a person who is dying of cancer.
The main character in the play is a woman, who is diagnosed with ovarian
cancer in its fourth stage.
The highly-acclaimed reading starred Jane Dibbell, associate professor
of theater arts at the University of La Verne.
What made the play significant was how Dibbell, much like the fictional
character she played, also had a personal battle with cancer.
"I think one of the things that the theater can do is bypass the
cerebral/intellectual aspect of the situation," Dibbell said in a recent
interview quoted in the program.
Dibbell has struggled with breast cancer throughout her teaching career
at ULV. Regardless of her lessened strength and frailness due to her illness,
she was still willing to take part in a performance that she related to,
to the fullest extent.
"This production has given a whole different perspective on how
to live with my disease," Dibbell said after the performance.
The production focuses on Dibbell's character, a woman who discussed
the long, painful, yet inspiring tale of having to deal with this incurable
Her character goes through many stages of the illness. Everything from
being the guinea pig of various tests to being subjected to the different
types of chemotherapy treatment.
In addition to the physical changes that result from cancer treatments,
including hair loss and the shut down of one's immune system, Dibbell also
presented the negative side of cancer when she shared the emotional strain
and solitude that cancer patients are faced with on a daily basis.
Her acting prevailed in this documentary, showing her strength and determination,
which resulted in a moved and emotional audience.
Dibbell enlightened her audience, as well as the ULV community, with
spirit, courage and mortality.
It was Dibbell's last words of the evening that kept the audience in
awe. The strength of her statement, "You should never have to go through
it alone," emphasized how vital it is for a person who is faced with
cancer, or any other incurable disease, to be alone or to have to struggle
for survival in complete loneliness.
After the performance, Dibbell offered herself to an open discussion
for any questions her audience had. Every audience member remained seated,
so they could listen to Dibbell's personal perspective toward the disease.