by Casey Sams
Lauren Gunderson calls her play Exit, Pursued by a Bear a revenge comedy. I had heard of revenge plays and even revenge tragedy before, but the term “revenge comedy” was new to me and also somewhat befuddling. I don’t usually think of revenge as particularly funny. So I Googled the term, and something really interesting came up. Revenge comedy is a style that, as far as I could tell, is used to describe movies about a woman or group of women taking revenge on a man or group of men. Films that were identified as revenge comedies included Thelma and Louise, Nine to Five, Legally Blonde and First Wives Club. This intrigued me – why is it that when women take revenge it’s comedic, but when men take revenge it’s usually not? *
And that lead me to another question – will this play be funny to everyone who sees it? At the CBT we invite our board members to attend the first rehearsal for our plays where they hear the initial read through, when the actors first read the script together. At the read through for this show one of the board members (a woman) commented that she thought the show was going to be hysterical. Another board member, (a man) responded that he didn’t think there was anything funny in the play at all.
Isn’t that interesting? Of course, that was just two people and their gender may have absolutely nothing to do with how they saw the show. But I’m curious – what makes a revenge comedy a comedy? And who laughs?
We have both laughed and cried while we’ve been rehearsing this play, and we’ve worked hard to find the balance between the vengeful aspects and the absurdly funny aspects of the script. We hope it makes you smile!
And we also want to remind you that trying to feed a person to bears is wrong.