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Pear Theatre Presents FRESH PRODUCE Readings, Beginning Today

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Pear Theatre Presents FRESH PRODUCE Readings, Beginning Today Pear Theatre, always a champion of new plays by local playwrights, has upgraded its play development series and premieres "Fresh Produce," a weekend presentation of staged readings, from July 20 to 21. An annual event, "Fresh Produce" will this year feature three plays under development from members of the Pear Playwrights Guild: "Terms of Use" by Patrick Brennan, "Dr. Rowan, the Demon, and Love" by Carol Wolf, and "Confession" by Barry Slater. "Fresh Produce" will offer one reading on Friday evening, and two on Saturday afternoon. All readings are held at the Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida St., Mountain View. Tickets ($10 per reading, or $25 for all three) can be purchased by visiting www.thepear.org or calling (650) 254-1148.

In "Terms of Use" by Patrick Brennan, Martha wants to save her hacker brother from a dangerous obsession with virtual reality. But she soon discovers that he has learned how to open a door to a realm darker than she could have ever imagined. Can she rescue him before he is lost forever? Brennan's produced plays include "No Politics," "Milgram's War," "Singulariteen," and "Get Out of My American Way." His plays have been performed in and around Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and around the world, and have won a Best of Fringe Festival Award at the San Francisco Fringe Festival and a Playwright's Choice Award from Playwrights' Platform Summer Festival. Brennan is also a cofounder of Undefined Symbol Theater.

From Carol Wolf, audiences will hear "Dr. Rowan, the Demon, and Love." Dr. Kate Rowan, Professor of History, uses a spellbook to seek the gift of all human knowledge. She succeeds in raising the embodiment of Dr. John Dee, court magician to Queen Elizabeth I: who in turn raises demons capable of granting human desires. Dr. Rowan, with her friends and colleagues, will soon be seduced into a magical experiment with results no one will foresee. Wolf has taught playwriting at both Master's and undergraduate levels for several colleges, and published a manual on the subject in 2012. Her plays have been produced on five continents and have earned a Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Award, a Cabbie Award, three Gertrude Hung Chang Playwriting Awards, an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, a London Fringe First, two Robbie Award nominations, a Starr Award, and a Susan Smith Blackburn Playwriting Award nomination.

The third play to be read is "Confession," by Barry Slater. As a small-time gambler, Vinnie has done his share of bad deeds, but the one he can't live with (or die with) occurred one harrowing night when he was fourteen. Who better to turn to for forgiveness than his brother: a priest, his childhood hero, and the source of all his pain and sorrow? Under the title "Forgive Me, Brother," an earlier draft of this play earned one of the top four Best Play slots at the Strawberry One-Act Festival in New York City. Slater's plays explore the struggles, failures, joys, and redemptive qualities of human relationships. His practice as a family physician in Northern California, and the courage and friendship of his patients, provides much of his inspiration. His works have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose, and his short play "Eagles in Heaven" was an audience favorite at this year's Pear Slices.

The cast for this year's Fresh Produce includes Demaris Devito, Michael Weiland, Gretta Hestenes-Stimson, Nicole Martin, Keith Larson, Paul Braverman, and Kyle Smith. Paul Braverman and Robyn Ginsburg Braverman handle play direction and the reading of the stage directions during performance.

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 last season's production of "What You Will" (Max Gutmann) and next season's premiere of "Sojourn" (Evan Kokkila-Schumacher).

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.


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