Pear Theatre Opens Season with NORTHANGER ABBEY
Pear Theatre's 2018-19 season opens in August with "Northanger Abbey," adapted by Pear founder Diane Tasca from the novel by Jane Austen. Pear Theatre's production of "Northanger Abbey," directed by Troy Johnson, previews on August 30, with press and Opening Night on Friday, August 31, followed by a champagne gala. The show runs Thursdays through Sundays through September 23 in repertory with a junior cast production. All performances are held at the Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.thepear.org or calling (650) 254-1148.
In classic Austen style, "Northanger Abbey" follows several young ladies and gentlemen as they negotiate romances, friendships, betrothals, betrayals, and the general realization that life is not like an 18th-century Gothic novel. Tasca's script was last produced at the Pear in 2008, and was called "a delight to the eye" by KQED's Ben Marks.
"Northanger Abbey" will be performed in repertory by two casts: one, an adult cast featuring some of the Bay Area's best talent, and a second "junior" cast featuring some of the participants in Pear Seeds, Pear Theatre's new youth theatre program.
Playwright Diane Tasca, in addition to being the founder of Pear Theatre, is an accomplished playwright, actor, and director. "Northanger Abbey" was her first attempt at writing a full-length stage play based on written material. Since its success, she has also penned "The Walls of Jericho," a widely praised production that was the first play staged in the company's current location on La Avenida Street, as well as a stage adaptation of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." As an actress, she has received acclaim for her leading roles in "The Road to Mecca," "August: Osage County," "The Tempest," all three of the original 'Frankie Payne' plays by Paul Braverman, and more. Directing credits include the recent revue "Oh Coward," "Our Town," and others.
The Pear's "senior" production of "Northanger Abbey" features Matt Brown, Carolyn Compton, Damaris Divito, Leslie Ivy, Jim Johnson, Peter Ray Juarez, Christopher Mungovan, and Dana Reynolds. Each actor performs several roles in the production, including occasionally playing inanimate objects. The design and crew team includes sound designer David Hobbs, set designer Norman Beamer, lighting designer Meghan Souther, costume designer Trish Files, choreographer Michael Saenz, and stage manager Kelly Weber Barraza.
The Pear's "junior" production of "Northanger Abbey" features Jillian Analla, Edith Craig, Lauren Krieger, Elsa Pitsch, Aparna Prabhakar, Jehan Rasmussen, Ellie Schwartz, and Aeryn Taylor. The cast will use the same set, properties, and lights as the adult cast, with costumes by Trish Files, and stage managed by Rachel Bratt. The junior cast production will be directed by Melinda Marks, assisted by Betsy Kruse Craig.
The new Pear Seeds Youth Conservatory program has been bringing together young artists to work in small groups with theatre professionals who guide the students through the entire theatre creation process - from page to stage. Participants have expert guidance on playwriting, acting, directing, and technical theatre, as well as group discussions, individual creative writing, warm-ups, and rehearsals. After three weeks of training, the program concludes with three public performances of their own original plays on Saturday, July 28th and Sunday, July 29th.
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 sixteenth 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. This exciting move allows The Pear to continue its tradition of intimate theatre while taking on new challenges and opportunities. In August 2017, Betsy Kruse Craig took the helm as the new Artistic Director, beginning with this season.