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Best Showstopper -- Literally San Francisco 2012 - Exit, Pursued by a Bear

In Lauren Gunderson's play at Crowded Fire Theater, Nan (played by Erin Gilley) is just a nice, sweet lil' thang who wants to show some love to animals — and to her idol and fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter. So when she decides to hatch a revenge plot against her abusive husband Kyle (Patrick Jones), she's too nice to have an easy time following through. All these people are yelling at her — her friends are egging her on, Kyle is trying to hold her back by reminiscing about the good old days — and there's just a little too much happening for this nicey-nice Southern belle. So she stops the play. Everyone has to hold still and be quiet. But how does she regain composure? By marching to the kitchen, opening the freezer, and digging into some Ben & Jerry's. It was a lovely, meta-theatrical moment, one hatched with pitch-perfect timing by Gilley and the ensemble under the direction of Desdemona Chiang, and it served as a clever reminder that in the theater, we're all dreaming it together.

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