Memorial Day is upon us. Don’t already have every moment booked up? Then go get tickets to Pear Slices at Mountain View’s Pear Theatre and see this challenging and insightful show before it closes with Sunday night’s final performance. Even if you’re not into theater, you’ll be glad you did.
Sorry for the late notice, of course. But hear us out.
Pear Slices is a series of short skits showcasing local playwrights and with a definite pull toward the absurd, smashing together themes from film noir, comedy, and subject matters like the death of a sibling. It’s timeless in its material but timely in its message — experimental but accessible. Which is, after all, what the Pear Theatre was founded for in 2002 — a local production company with grit that believed Silicon Valley could handle shows of substance.
The first skit, Elyce Melmon’s For Art’s Sake, asks the viewer an elusive question: does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Set in a museum, a tech-obsessed son begrudgingly takes his art historian mother to a museum for her birthday, a gift that he knows she’ll surely appreciate.
There is an obvious tension between the two as they bicker over the importance of art in modern life: the son thinks it’s a waste of time, the mother sees it as an expression of human passion.
The humor heightens when a beautiful young woman with a Mona Lisa smile waltzes into reality from the painting in question. Art no longer just imitates life, but is life itself.
In Stella Wind by Bridgette Dutta Portman we meet the fearless “leader of the Cosmonaut Quartet,” as she seeks to convince her mother that “fighting for justice is more important than graduating with a decent GPA.”
Stella Wind is superhero spoof but it also shelters notes of sadness and rejection, in which Stella holds up her whole, honest self to the scrutiny of her helicopter mother. It’s a story about our own need, however buried, to have our parents accept us for who we are.
We all, whether we admit it or not, want our parents to accept us, and Stella Wind taps deep into that collective unconscious without compromising the lively humor that energizes its hilarious entrance.
These two plays are among the eight new works included in the show, which began its run on May 5th and is directed by Troy Johnson and Robyn Ginsburg Braverman. Silicon Valley has too few mirrors, and this is a worthy one.
thepear.org // 1110 La Avenida St, Mountain View, CA 94043 // Thurs to Sat 8 p.m, Sun 2 p.m. //$10 to $35