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Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang
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Miss Witherspoon

by Christopher Durang

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Veronica, already scarred by too many failed relationships, finds the world a frightening place. Skylab, an American space station that came crashing down to earth, in particular, haunts and enrages her. So she has committed suicide, and is now in what she expected to be heaven but is instead something called the Bardo (the netherworld in Tibetan Buddhism), and the forces there keep trying to make her reincarnate. So far she's thwarted these return visits to earth with a sort of "spiritual otherworldly emergency brake system" she seems to have. She doesn't like being alive, and post-9/11 finds the world even scarier than when she was there. A lovely if strong-willed Indian spirit guide named Maryamma, however, is intent on getting Veronica back to earth so she can learn the lessons her soul is supposed to learn. Veronica--nicknamed "Miss Witherspoon" by Maryamma--didn't expect there to be any afterlife, but if there has to be one, she demands St. Peter and the pearly gates. Or even the Jewish afterlife, described by Maryamma as being like "prolonged general anesthesia," would be nice. But seemingly Veronica is stuck with Maryamma and reincarnation, and also later on with Gandalf and Jesus (who on a playful whim appears in the form of a black woman in a big "going to church" hat). Several times in the play Miss W's brake system fails, and she's forced to return to earth, but each time she keeps killing herself (even as an infant at two weeks, which especially irks Maryamma). By the end of the play, however, Maryamma, Gandalf and Jesus convince Miss W that the world is in such a mess that souls "must move through their spiritual evolution faster than they've been doing...they cannot go live through eighty and ninety years and only learn tiny, tiny lessons. We need things to move faster!" In the end, Miss W finds her own personal way to make sense of that entreaty, and she finally agrees to return to earth to help...well, save the planet basically.(From publisher's website)… (more)

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