“Pear Slices” opens today and runs through May 28th, 2017. If you’ve never been to the Pear Theatre, you really need to go see it and this production is their most popular every year. Everyone can’t wait to see what their favorite playwrights have come up with.
"Pear Slices" is 8 original short plays by members of the Pear Playwrights Guild. From Anasazi to Aboriginals, private detectives to proposals, this year's crop of plays promises to engage, delight, and inspire. All eight plays will be performed in the same evening, with a cast of seven actors performing all the roles. “Pear Slices 2017,” is directed by Troy Johnson and Robyn Ginsburg Braverman. The show runs Thursdays through Sundays, through May 28. All performances are held at the Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View. Tickets ($10-$35) can be purchased by visiting www.thepear.org or calling (650) 254-1148.
Pear Theatre is one of the only theatres in the Bay Area to host its own playwrights development group, known as the Pear Playwrights Guild. Playwrights meet regularly to share their writing, whether short plays or full-length works. Newer playwrights get the benefit of the more experienced writers' knowledge of plot development, character development, and action that sounds good on paper but may not translate well to the stage. Short plays from the Guild are considered for each year's Pear Slices, and longer plays often see full productions at the Pear, such as 2013's production of “A King's Legacy” (Elyce Melmon) and this season's upcoming premiere of “What You Will” (Max Gutmann).
From Pear veteran Paul Braverman comes Deuce Cooper: The Bloomfield Case, a noir send-up set in the 1940s. Private detective Deuce Cooper struggles with a case that may or may not prove his career success to date is a fluke. It's 10:45 p.m., and his new assistant Donna has scheduled meetings at eleven with an informant, a police officer, a client/lover, his mother, all three of his ex-wives, and Donny No-Sleeves who plans to kill him “a lot.” Before the night is over, there will be a double-cross … a triple-cross … and finally, justice will be done.
In For Art's Sake by Elyce Melmon, the playwright lovingly examines the differing perspectives of mother and son, an art historian and a tech captain, a passionate feeler and a rational thinker. What will happen when a classic work of art finally insists upon the young man's attention? Will his neat and tidy viewpoint be utterly undone by the mystery of who she truly is?
Two sisters sort through the remains of their deceased older brother's life in Meantime In Between Time by Leah Halper. When a family member lives a life of substance abuse, the resentment of wrongs done can outweigh and overshadow the love that still exists — but sometimes, the remnants of a life lived can finally bring understanding and acceptance to those who have spent too long seeking it.
Stella Wind by Bridgette Dutta Portman is a lively spoof on the teen superhero genre (Sailor Moon, Kim Possible) that features a high school superhero forbidden by her mother to continue saving the city from evil aliens until her grades improve. Young Stephanie — aka Stella Wind, leader of the Cosmonaut Quartet — will face the greatest struggle of her superpowered existence, convincing her mother that fighting for justice is more important than graduating with a decent GPA.
In The Proposal by Max Gutmann, feminism gets a lighthearted treatment when an independent woman gets wind of her boyfriend's marriage proposal “ambush” and determines to break the whole thing off for good. While comic in nature, the short piece also raises valid points about the cultural traditions of proposals, and offers at least one modern solution to those offended by them.
Susan Jackson's short play Aboriginal is a fascinating look at adoption, based on true stories. A panel of individuals sharing their personal stories and responses to adoption at an International Adoption Symposium at NYU raise a multitude of questions. Why were these particular children up for adoption? Who adopted them, and for what reasons? Were those lives better than the lives they might have been expected to have, otherwise? What of their extended adopted families? And as adults, do they seek out their birth parents? Why or why not?
Old ways versus new ways, interdependence versus independence, mythic tradition versus proven science all come to a conflict in Anasazi Breakdown by Douglas Rees. Set in a desert in 1946, a woman waits by a broken-down car for her sister to return with a charged battery. As she waits, a stranger approaches to help – but his help may be exactly what the sisters don'tneed.
In Mirror to Face by Leah Halper, a beloved performer in the Yiddish theatre in 1903 is offered an opportunity, finally, to perform on Broadway – but as the hated figure of Shylock. Can he bring humanity to the role, or will audiences simply see his performance confirm their worst prejudices? Meanwhile, his talented daughter has her own theatrical future in mind, one which may not be possible under her father's watchful eye.
All the roles in all the plays of Pear Slices 2017 will be performed by one cast: Ariel Aronica, Tess Middlebrook, Briana Mitchell, Bryan Moriarty, Kyle Smith, Michael Weiland, andAlison Whismore. Keeping sets, lights, and props to a minimum, the production features the work of Norman Beamer as Set Builder, James Kopp as Lighting Designer, and Kelly Weber Barraza as Stage Manager. Troy Johnson and Robyn Ginsburg Braverman created the sound and visual design for the production.
Pear Theatre began as the Pear Avenue Theatre in June 2002, under the leadership of Artistic Director Diane Tasca, by a group of theatre artists who believe that audiences are eager for plays that challenge as well as delight and move them. Pear Theatre produces intimate theatre by passionate artists, whether classic works or cutting-edge plays. Now in its fifteenth season, The Pear attracts theatre artists and audience from all over the Bay Area for its award-winning and high-quality productions; and last year The Pear’s ongoing commitment to excellence was recognized by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle with the Paine Knickerbocker Award, an annual special award for a Bay Area company contributing to the high quality of theatre in the region.
Pear Theatre moved in 2015 from its original 40-seat warehouse space to a new, state-of-the-art black box theatre close by, with capacity of 75-99 seats depending on the configuration of the production. The old location felt like you were watching a play and sitting on an airplane at the same time. I loved how tiny and intimate the setting was and I love the new theatre even more. This exciting move allows The Pear to continue its tradition of intimate theatre while taking on new challenges and opportunities. Pear Theatre is a very special place in our community and I highly recommend buying tickets to Pear Slices. I love Mountain View.