Experience Eight Times as Much Entertainment at the Pear Theatre – Pear Slices Showcases 8 Short Plays by Local Playwrights

Bezachin Jifar and Jenna Ruby Marvet in "Juliet's Post Credits Scene" photo by Sinjin Jones
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In my opinion, it is harder to write a short play than a long one. To cover most themes and plot lines playwrights usually require multiple scenes and a lot of dialogue. The eight plays showcased in Pear Slices tackled challenging themes and intricate plots in one-act plays lasting less than 15 minutes. Yet, each one, with the help of very talented actors, developed its theme completely and clearly in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.

Bezachin Jifar and Vivienne Truong in “Cleaning Up” Photo by Sinjin Jones

Pear Slices will be at the Pear Theatre in Mountain View now through June 2nd. I had the pleasure of seeing this on its first weekend. I have my favorites from this selection of plays, but I leave it to you to decide which embodied the type of play you most enjoy. I like to be entertained; I don’t want to have to think too much to understand the theme, but I don’t want a play that is too simple either. These plays challenged the audience just enough and entertained them in a big way.  For more information and to buy tickets, see their website, thepear.org.

Jenna Ruby Marvet in “I’m Not Her” photo by Sinjin Jones

There are two special events in conjunction with Pear Slices. Anyone who attends one of the Pear Slices performances can get into these events free of charge. May 25th is the Monologue Festival and May 31st is the Youth Theatre One Act Readings.  These are unique to the Pear, and as usual, promise to entertain.  Check their website for more information.

Vanessa Alvarez in “The Tarot Reading” photo by Sinjin Jones

The eight playwrights whose plays are being performed are well known in the Bay area and beyond. Each one is an accomplished playwright with impressive credits. Paul Braverman penned “Brick House,” with a twist on the story of the three pigs. Cherielyn Ferguson wrote “Backyard,” featuring two women who struggle about whether to intervene when they overhear their neighbor verbally abusing her children. Christine C. Hsu’s “Cleaning Up” explores what happens when the ex-wife of a grieving husband tries to help him heal from the death of his wife. Greg Lam takes us on a journey into Shakespeare’s world with “Juliet’s Post Credits Scene.” There is definitely a surprise twist at the end of this short play. Bridgette Dutta Portman explores the grief caused by the death of an unborn child both by choice and by fate in “Fertile Soil.” Teresa Veramendi gave us a look into the battle of multiple personalities within a suffering young woman in “I’m Not Her.” Sophia Naylor contributed two plays. In both “Accidental Immortal” and “The Tarot Reading” reality is suspended for brief looks at how people react (perhaps as we would) given imaginary gifts and demands. Each of these eight plays left me wanting to know what would happen next in the scenario. Each was like reading a book I didn’t want to end.

Vivienne Truong and Jenna Ruby Marvet in “Fertile Soil” photo by Sinjin Jones

The first person I talked to about these plays asked me if they were serious or funny. They asked if they were emotional or provocative, moralistic or for pure entertainment. Simple or complex? My answer to each of these questions was a resounding YES! Within this 2-hour span these eight plays elicit tears, laughter, concentration, soul-searching and definitely an escape from reality while at the same time allow you to study or question everything about your reality. I can’t imagine a more diverse set of plays nor can I fathom how these very talented actors switched roles effortlessly and convincingly. The playwrights gave them terrific scripts and thought-provoking lines, but these actors brought those to life. I am mentioning them here in this review because they deserve so much credit.

Lizzie Izyumin and Devansh Manchanda in “Accidental Immortal” photo by Sinjin Jones

 Each actor had a major role in at least three of the plays, and some appeared in just about every play. Each time they appeared in a new role, they embodied the new character fully and believably. Jenna Ruby Marvet, Lizzie Izyumin , Vanessa Alvarez, Vivienne Truong, Bezachin Jifar, and Arohan Deshpande displayed the emotion and intellect necessary for each role. They had a chemistry amongst themselves and with the audience that just worked perfectly.  These are seasoned actors, but young enough that I am sure we will see them starring in roles for many years in the Bay Area and beyond.

Vanessa Alvarez in “Brick House” photo by Sinjin Jones

Live theater was devastated by the pandemic. The Pear Theatre is helping it to come back. It  continues to showcase new works by local playwrights as well as famous plays we all know and love. They host community events such as improv nights and cabaret evenings. To fund these productions that are valuable to the Bay Area talent as well as the patrons, the Pear is currently running a social media and email marketing fundraiser for Season 23. To be a part of this fundraising, go to the website, thepear.org/donate.


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