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Exit, Pursued by a Bear

After years of abuse, Nan is finally ready to teach her abusive husband Kyle a lesson. With some assistance by her longtime best friend Simon (acting as her emotional, and actual, cheerleader) and an optimistic stripper named Sweetheart, Nan wants to make Kyle understand what he’s done is wrong before taking her final revenge. They hatch a plan inspired by Shakespeare’s immortal stage direction in The Winter’s Tale: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” With a flair for theatrics, the group tapes a drunk Kyle to a chair and reenact scenes from the couple’s painful past. In the piece de resistance, they plan to cover the room in meat and honey so Kyle will be mauled by a bear.

Through this night of emotional trials and ridiculous theatrics, Nan and Kyle are both freed from their past in this dark and smart revenge comedy.

Subtitled as “A Revenge Comedy,” Gunderson delivers nothing less, as the fast paced action screams towards Kyle’s fate. As the laughs roll, Gunderson cleverly confronts the issue of domestic abuse but at the same time walks the fine line between painful tragedy and unseemly comedy by examining multiple perspectives of those involved, each flawed, contradictory, and human.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the first of three plays in the author’s “Shakespeare Cycle”, a series of contemporary comedies based on Shakespeare’s plays. Other plays in the series include Toil and Trouble and The Taming.

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