Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Nomadic Theatre Presents ‘Exit, Pursued by a Bear’


Nomadic Theatre’s first show of the season, Lauren Gunderson’s “Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” brings the theater troupe back to its core principles of being “technically ambitious and socially engaged.” Last year, Gunderson was the most-produced playwright in the United States after William Shakespeare, and the production’s directing staff — Director Bailey Premeaux (COL ’19), Producer Cristin Crowley (MSB ’20), Stage Manager Willa Petty (COL ’20) and Technology Director Andy Sedlack (COL ’20) — have been working hard to bring her work to life on a Georgetown stage.

Set in a precise reproduction of a small house in the woods of Georgia, the play opens with Kyle, played by Jake Sanford (COL ’20), duct-taped to a chair by his wife Nan, played by Allison Lane (COL ’19), as she plans to exact revenge for the abuse she has suffered at his hands. Although it is a comedy — and a hilarious one at that, largely thanks to its supporting cast of Kylie Navarro (COL ’20) and Mark Camilli (COL ’19) — the play’s real strengths lie in its delicate handling of a difficult subject: the impact of domestic abuse and the difficulty that survivors experience in leaving it.

“Domestic violence happens across the country; it can happen anywhere, to anyone, no matter where they’re from, their level of education, anything like that,” Premeaux said. “It’s a message really relevant not only to the world as a whole, but to Georgetown’s campus.”

The work handles its subject matter in a sensitive manner while maintaining relatability to the audience.

“I love the play because it’s about something so serious and so real, but it’s a comedy, so it gives a unique way of dealing with domestic violence. We say a theme of it is catharsis through theater,” Crowley said. “The audience gets catharsis through theater.”

Lane’s stunning portrayal of Nan is one of the highlights of the performance, showcasing an emotional range and precision that cuts through the humor and speaks directly to the audience.


“The hardest part was kind of going through the emotional transition of wanting to leave and being pulled back and wanting to stay and wanting to leave and being pulled back,” Lane said. “The difficult part was being able to put myself in the mindset of someone who has been hurt so badly because I want to do justice to people who really have experienced that, and I want to make sure that people who have experienced that can see that they’re so much better off on their own and being happy.”

The production is as technically ambitious as it aims to be, as well. The play makes extensive use of projections, designed by Julia Beu (COL ’20). The projections are the first to ever be done independently by a student theatre group at Georgetown. The set, designed by Lianna McFarlane-Connelly (COL ’19), also includes small details that bring it to life. For example, water runs from the kitchen faucet when Nan washes her hands onstage.

“This was a very tech-heavy show,” Crowley said. “The set was an incredible undertaking, I think, to create a house on stage. Andy [Sedlack] did an amazing job building it and running all the technical things in the show.”

There was an additional technical aspect to the acting: though the cast hails mostly from the East Coast, the characters are all Georgia natives. The cast was coached by Premeaux, who hails from East Texas, in the Southern accents they adopt onstage.

“The accent itself does not entirely have a regional authenticity,” Premeaux said. “They’re doing more of an East Texas accent because that’s the region I’m from, where my family is from … generally when it comes to accents, East Texas and Georgia are shockingly similar, so we could kind of get away with it.”

The actors enjoyed the experience of developing accents, according to Lane.

“We had so much fun. If you were to see us at the beginning of the rehearsal process, we were all sitting around in a circle, and Bailey [Premeaux] would just play a little CD with different Southern vowels,” Lane said.  “Now I just feel like it’s my other language; it’s super easy now.”

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” is playing in the Village C Theatre Wednesday, Oct. 25th through Saturday, Oct. 28th at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online at

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