TAKING STEPS Comes to Pear in January 2020

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Pear Theatre kicks off the New Year with Alan Ayckbourn's hilarious farce, Taking Steps (directed by Troy Johnson). Taking Steps previews on Thursday, January 16, with press and Opening Night on Friday, January 17, followed by a champagne gala. The show runs Thursdays through Sundays through February 9. 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.

Called "a farce of riotous delight" by the Evening News, Taking Steps is set in 1979 on three floors of an old and reputedly haunted house - but the stage is arranged so that the "stairs" are flat and all three floors are on a single level (hence the play on words in the title). The Pear Theatre production will be done with audience on three sides of the stage, allowing patrons to feel a part of the madcap action. In this Victorian house (a former brothel) are gathered a hard-drinking tycoon, his wife, the tycoon's lawyer, the builder, the tycoon's brother-in-law, and his in-law's fiancée.

Roland, the alcoholic businessman, and his wife Elizabeth (a dancer who gave up her career for her marriage, and is now in constant indecision about giving up her marriage) are renting the old Victorian from the builder, Leslie. Leslie is desperate to sell the house to get out from under his shady finances. Roland's lawyer Tristram is on hand to negotiate the possible purchase, despite being almost completely useless at his job. Into this domestic disaster wander Elizabeth's brother, Mark, who is juggling his failing relationship and his dreams of opening a fishing tackle shop; and Mark's fiancée Kitty (who already left him at the altar once, was persuaded to come back to him after her arrest for suspected solicitation, and is considering jilting him again).

The Guardian dubbed this comedy "a tour de force. Ayckbourn describes Taking Steps as his only really classic farce. In a collapsing house, relationships are falling apart. Four selfish characters get their just deserts, two deserving characters get theirs." The New York Times called it "sheer froth ... In the fewer than 24 hours in which the action unfolds, the characters unwittingly ricochet between death and life almost as often as they bounce from bed to bed and floor to floor."

Troy Johnson's previous directing credits at The Pear include Northanger Abbey (adapted from Jane Austen's novel by Pear Founder Diane Tasca), Nina Raines' Tribes, Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel, and Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July, as well as co-directing thirteen iterations of Pear Slices, Pear Theatre's annual anthology of short original plays by the Pear Playwrights Guild. An accomplished actor as well, Johnson has also often graced local stages including Pear Theatre, Dragon Productions, Palo Alto Players, and more.

Taking Steps features Todd Wright as businessman Roland Crabbe; Betsy Kruse Craig as his wife and former dancer Elizabeth Crabbe; Matt Brown as the builder, Leslie Bainbridge; David Boyll as Elizabeth's brother Mark Boxer; Roneet Aliza Rahamim as Mark's reluctant fiancée Kitty; and Max Tachis as the ineffectual lawyer Tristram Watson. The design and crew team includes Stage Manager Kelly Weber Barraza; Costume Designer Trish Files; Lighting Designer Meghan Souther; and Sound Designer David Hobbs.

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 eighteenth 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, instituting several new programs and expanding the range of the theater's offerings. In January 2020, Kruse Craig will be stepping down from that role, which will be filled by a candidate selected by the Board of Directors.

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

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