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Miss Witherspoon

a Atlanta Premiere
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Christopher Durang

COMPANY : Theatre in the Square [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Theatre in the Square [WEBSITE]
ID# 2100

SHOWING : January 14, 2007 - February 25, 2007

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Veronica has committed suicide but is forced to reincarnate until she "gets it right" in Christopher Durang's latest satire.


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REVIEWS

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by Mandy03
Saturday, March 17, 2007
NR
I couldn't rate this play because it was over, but I greatly wanted to send love to the actors. The range that everyone beautifully showed off reminds me that acting is a true talent. I was drawn into this play by the amazing range that each character had. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world.
Jamie Link [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Déjà Vu
by Dedalus
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
2.0
I believe that a mis-placed optimism will get you through the week a lot more smoothly than a well-justified pessimism. I’m also quite skeptical about reincarnation, the after-life, and infants who choose to commit suicide. So, maybe you’ll understand why I find Christopher Durang’s latest play, “Miss Witherspoon” not only bogus and dull, but also unconvincing, unfunny, and unoriginal. It gave me a been-there seen-that feeling of Déjà Vu that recalled previous (and much better) plays by Durang.

To recap, Veronica (Shelly McCook) has committed suicide and finds herself in an afterlife in which she is forced to reincarnate until she “learns” certain cosmic “truths” that are never really clarified or justified. She stubbornly refuses to go back, and when the “powers-that-be” actually succeed in getting her reborn, she quickly finds an excuse to return to the afterlife.

The play goes off the rails quite early in its new-agey view of “eternity” – an unconvincing scenario in which a person’s “Aura” knows better than its consciousness what it really believes and wants. Right away, I wanted to Bronx Cheer Durang and wish Veronica well on her quest for oblivion. “Eternity” then tries to make Veronica feel guilty about her choices without absolving others of Free Will Choices made in her wake. It’s a philosphical oxymoron – you may not have free will, but you’re certainly responsible for the choices you make.

Add to this some really lame monologues that cover familiar Durang territory, dull satire totally devoid of humor, an extremely clumsy plot device at the end that saves an actor from doing a quick-change, an unconvincing character arc for Veronica, and “chorus-line” blocking for the final “heavenly” discussion, and you’re left with a frustrating play from someone from whom we’ve come to expect much better. It’s a measure of its (lack of) effect that, early in the evening, I found myself distracted by Ms. McCook’s constant slapping of her legs – usually a sign that an actor doesn’t know what to do with her hands – to the point of starting to count them instead if listening to the drivel coming from the characters.

I’m usually a fan of Durang’s work. As such, I had high expectations of this play. The idea of a depressive woman engaged in eternal struggle with the afterlife struck me as a fertile playground for Durang’s humor and satire – ample opportunity to skewer new age philosophy, after-life mythology and mis-placed optimism (like my own). To say I was shocked that Durang not only left these targets “off the hook,” but also seemed to actually embrace them would be an understatement of cosmic proportions.

To see Veronica relive lives of not-so-quiet desperation is to see the dark side of Déjà Vu. To experience this play is a theatrical analog that I cannot recommend.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)





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