Comedy ‘Miss Witherspoon’ opens tonight in Dillon |

Comedy ‘Miss Witherspoon’ opens tonight in Dillon

Leslie Brefeld
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Mark Fox

DILLON, COLORADO ” Hope may seem like an odd theme for a story about a woman who commits suicide, but that’s what it ultimately comes down to in the Lake Dillon Theatre’s latest production, “Miss Witherspoon,” according to director Chris Alleman.

The afterlife ” as in the limbo between reincarnations ” is where most of the play takes place. Here Miss Witherspoon, played by Kelly Ketzenbarger, is led by Maryamma (Faith Rohrbacher), a Hindu woman in a beautiful green and shiny sari, the colors of which are included in the set.

Miss Witherspoon, fed up with dealing with life, has ended it by the opening scenes.

While entirely reluctant to be reincarnated, she is told she must learn the lessons of life before she can be free of it.

“She wants so badly not to be alive and not to deal with life, and that’s exactly why she keeps getting sent back,” Ketzenbarger said of her character.

Playwright Christopher Durang consistently finds humor throughout, while issues of religion, spirituality and current politics are addressed. And in these moments the poignancy of the play is at its sharpest.

Alleman said finding that balance was a challenge with “Miss Witherspoon.”

“Comedy is always hard, satirical comedy is even harder,” he said.

MIss Witherspoon finds herself being sucked into new lives ” from a loving couple in Connecticut to a rock ‘n’ roll neglectful couple (both played by Matt Renoux and Kelly Renoux) to a dog, where she actually enjoys her life.

During the play, Jesus (Maria Cheng portrays this “lady in the headdress”) and Gandalf (who indeed looks like the Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings”) make an appearance. They are hoping to get the enlightenment of the world moving along.

Durang won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for the themes presented in “Miss Witherspoon.”

The play is currently showing at the Lake Dillon Theatre in Dillon.

Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or

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