`Ex’ Marks Spot For Revenge, Fun

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
July 21, 1995

There’s a new improv play in town called “Sue Your Ex” that just might be the cure if you’ve been dumped and want revenge.

There are lots of things we can do to make ourselves feel better after a relationship sours. But remember – stalking’s illegal.

“Sue Your Ex” provides an alternative. There’s nothing quite like having the support of a rapt audience as your love life is played out before you by an ensemble cast.

“I don’t think I’d want my life put out there for everyone to see,” Sara Stone said after a recent performance. “But it’s fun to hear about other people’s disastrous relationships.  It proves that I wasn’t the only idiot.”

Here’s how it works: Participants are selected from among ticket buyers a few minutes before show time. The actors canvass the audience to see if anyone would like to “sue” his or her ex and then decide who has the most interesting story to tell.

Troupe member Jason Winer said the cast tends to stay away from folks who “are limelight hungry. Sometimes they make things up to tell a good story.”

The actors also might select a plant. At a recent show when they knew a reporter would be present, they selected Rebecca Corry, 24, who happens to be an actress. When the reporter asked her the name of her ex-lover, she looked to Winer and asked, “What’s his name?” – apparently unsure whether she was supposed to fabricate a story or cull one from her own life. Winer admonished her and said she had to use the name of a real man she had stopped dating.

Corry said she would sue her ex-husband, William – an English chef whom she fell for because of his “height, hair and accent” – for all the money he took from her and a public apology. While the audience sat through repeated airings of “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M., the actors took Corry backstage and grilled her for details of her short-lived marriage to the handsome but abusive William.

When the actors were ready, 12 jurors were selected from the audience on the basis of pertinent questions such as, “Who has heard a British accent?” and “Which of you has ever cooked a meal?” It doesn’t matter how they answer. The first 12 who raise their hands are chosen to sit in the jury box.

Corry sat onstage with the actors and gave her testimony. When she was through, an actress portraying her sparred verbally with an actor playing William. Corry looked amused as the couple re-enacted her life.  Meanwhile, a judge, lawyers and witnesses argued over the merits of Corry’s case.

When the play was over, the jurors were asked to cast their votes. Juror No. 1, however, was nowhere to be found. All but two of the remaining jurors found William guilty, so the actor portraying him delivered a gushing apology to Corry. (Sometimes a real ex who’s a good sport will deliver public apologies via phone.)

Asked how she felt about the production and the verdict, Corry said, “William never apologized to me in real life. I’m happier with this ending.”

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