The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale: A Play About the Cost of Love


Haley McGee

About the book

In this hilarious and heartfelt autobiographical show, Haley McGee sets out to calculate–with mathematical precision–the exact cost of love, and whether all of her former relationships were worth it.

“Can we turn sentimental value into cold, hard cash?”

A couple of years ago, Haley McGee was £10,000 in debt. “I’m going sell some things,” she thought. “I’m gonna have a yard sale.” But when she looked around her apartment, the only things she owned that had any financial value had all been given to her by her ex-boyfriends. Eight objects from eight different exes: a bicycle, a guitar, a vintage typewriter, a sapphire necklace, a Hershel backpack, a ceramic cafetière, a mix CD and a t-shirt.

As she began to pack up these objects to sell, she started to wonder what they were really worth, given everything she’d invested–time, emotion, money–in the relationships they came from. How could she possibly determine a price for these objects, and for the love they once represented?

She didn’t know, but she became obsessed with figuring it out. She did market research online, she interviewed her exes, she met with a world-renowned physicist who studies how sentimentality affects the economy, she talked to a psychotherapist. And she spent days locked in a room with a mathematician–and together, they created a mathematical formula that takes into account the 52 variables (from market value to how much Haley laughed versus how much she fought in each relationship), and spits out a genuine price for the material things we’re left with when a romance dies. A formula for the cost of love. So we can know if it was worth it.

Using the creation of this formula as its frame, The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale is one woman’s raw, irreverent and intimate exploration into her past loves and losses, and into how and why she (and we) ascribe value to things, relationships and ourselves.

About the author

Haley McGee is an internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary artist. Specializing in live performance, her work spans solo performance, theatre, storytelling, writing, installation, voiceover and comedy. Born and raised in Kitchener, Haley trained as an actor at Ryerson University and the Second City Conservatory in Toronto before going on to work with many of Canada’s most prestigious companies and artists. One of her plays, Oh My Irma, has been translated into four languages. Her self-penned solo shows have toured to eleven countries around the world, winning awards including best performance at United Solo NYC. Her most recent solo, The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale, premiered in London at the Camden People’s Theatre and is part of Soulpepper’s 2020 season. Haley lives in London.

80pp, 5.5″x8.5″