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PEAR SLICES 2021 Opens April 30

Pear Slices offers up a selection of original, short plays from the members of the Pear Playwrights Guild.

Returning each spring, the annual short-play showcase Pear Slices offers up a selection of original, short plays from the members of the Pear Playwrights Guild. Co-directed this year by Troy Johnson and Melinda Marks, the current crop of vignettes will be presented as a filmed-live video, accessible online beginning April 30. For more information, or to purchase access, patrons may visit www.thepear.org or call (650) 254-1148.

Whether dramatic or comic, adversarial or romantic, or simply defying categorization, these plays are presented by a single cast of highly versatile, local actors playing multiple roles across plays. Pear Slices has become a favorite among Pear audiences, who look forward to the latest offering from their favorite Guild members each spring.

Now in its eighteenth year, Pear Slices 2021 includes the following pieces:

Pear Playwrights Guild newcomer Matthew Fyffe offers his comedy "A Stable Family," where we find new father Joseph struggling with the responsibilities of raising his first son ... who was born in a stable, in Bethlehem, in 0 AD. Can the Three Wise Ones offer some advice and hopefully save an entire religion at the same time? Or will their anxieties (not to mention Joseph's) about being up to the task change the world as we know it?

Longtime Guild member Leah Halper offers two shorts this season: "Yes Yes Maybe," a poignant story of a not-so-young man in Buenos Aires asking his family tough questions and demanding long-denied answers; and "Hello Heriberto," where a woman in labor and her partner hurry to get to the hospital while simultaneously struggling with the personal, economical, and existential challenges of bringing a new life into the world.

Carol Wolf presents "Don't Let Go," in which a community of blind primitives help one another through a fearful landscape of dangers. But when one leader notices he has additional senses, ones that help him gather more food and keep his people safe, he will discover that such an existence is more dangerous than he might have realized.

A riotous game show set in ancient Rome (sort of) is the world of "Wheel of Fortuna," by Bridgette Dutta Portman. Contestants Nero (a moody teen with mommy issues), Cleopatra (a savvy ruler who is determined to win), and Marcus Anonymus (an obscure goat-herder) attempt to win money and the latest model chariot while the insanely bored show host (and goddess) Fortuna sneaks sips from her flask. Portman is the author of previous seasons' plays "Mister the Bear" and "Exposure."

Megan Maugheri also returns this season with "Power(less) Pete." When Power(less) Pete sinks into an existential crisis during the summer of 2020, Magic Max attempts to help him get back to being a kick-ass superhero. Can Max get Pete to find his power again? To turn off "South Park" reruns and stop drinking Power Punch and gin? Or to at least take a shower and put on some pants? Past favorites from Maugheri include "Mothers of the Bride," "Glinda, the Middle-Aged Witch," and "The Bad Good Planet."

In "Sequestered" by Barbara Anderson, a couple struggles to find time together after their online, lockdown schedules become jam-packed. Can they find a few minutes for dinner together amid the nonstop streaming workouts, workshops, and work meetings? Will they ever return to the couple they were before - or have they, already?

After her Pear Slices debut last year with "Business Class," Peggy Powell now returns with two short plays: "Roadside Attraction," where two visitors to a Museum of Oddities in the middle of nowhere will undergo a very odd experience, indeed; and "Keepsake," in which Keira's husband has been cryogenically frozen for decades. The lab is ready to bring him back - but is she?

The cast, each playing multiple characters across plays, consists of Maya Greenberg, Gaz Jemeel, Asha Kelly, Justin P. Lopez, Francheska Johanna Loy, and Francisco Rodriguez. Kelly Weber Barraza stage manages, Pati Bristow provides costumes, and Ben Hemmen designs lighting.

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 and advice, and the group can help a playwright overcome challenges in the writing process. 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 the critically acclaimed "Sojourn" (Evan Kokkila-Schumacher) and "What You Will" (Max Gutmann).

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 musical revues or cutting-edge plays. Now in its nineteenth season, the Pear attracts theatre artists and audience from all over the Bay Area for its award-winning and high-quality productions; and its 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. After two years of growth under Artistic Director Betsy Kruse Craig, Pear Theatre is newly under the leadership of its third Artistic Director, Sinjin Jones.

For information or tickets, visit www.thepear.org or call (650) 254-1148.


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