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ArlingtonCAPPIES: Woodlawn students score success with tale of revenge

CAPPIES: Woodlawn students score success with tale of revenge

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by SHANNON SIDWELL, Centreville High School

H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program’s performance of “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” highlighted a “revenge comedy” that wonderfully featured drama, a dead deer, honey and a touch of duct tape.

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” a play written by Lauren Gunderson, is about Nan, a woman deciding to finally leave her abusive husband, Kyle. However, she couldn’t pass up a chance for good old-fashioned revenge ,and duct tapes her husband to a chair and performs scenes of moments from their past that have changed how Nan sees Kyle.

With the help of Simon, an old friend, and Sweetheart, a new one (who just so happens to be a stripper), Nan establishes an elaborate scheme to lure in a bear with venison and honey.


Even while being duct-taped to a chair, Kyle, portrayed by Daniel Gessel, had strong character moments. Gessel managed the balance of a hate-able, but believable, manipulator. The audience could see why Nan wanted to believe Kyle, but at the same time was utterly appalled by his actions and words.

A charismatic and charming cheerleader, Simon was played by Auggie McDonald. From the cheerleader outfit to the larger-than-life moments, Simon was a lively and witty character that brought life to a grim show. Even in background moments, McDonald stayed authentic to the character and provided a delightful performance.

Nan, performed by Rebecca Walyus, was a character full of dynamic and realistic emotions which Walyus perfectly captured. When interacting with other characters, Walyus confidently reacted and kept the audience engaged.

Walyus spoke clearly, and helped the audience understand the context of each scene through physical choices.

Suspended pieces, charming details and perfectly outdated furniture made the set, designed by Maddox Kromash, compelling while not distracting from the actors. The style of the set felt fitting for the characters.

Decorative dated tile on the floor, old appliances, and even a suspended ceiling fan made the set feel real while maintaining simplicity.

The lighting, designed by Colin Davis, was incredibly well executed and timely throughout the show. The lighting added clarity, by showing the audience when a scene was a reenactment versus a real time scene.

In addition to clarity, the lights were engaging and helped lead the audience to the focal point of each moment.

H-B Woodlawn’s performance of “Exit, Pursued By a Bear” confidently and delightfully engaged the audience in a comedic but thorough story of a dark and real topic.

The Sun Gazette partners with the Critics and Awards Program (CAPPIES) to present student-written reviews of local high-school theater productions.
For more on the initiative, see the Web site at www.cappies.com/nca/.

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