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Pear Theatre gets new name, new home

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Diane Tasca, artistic director of Pear Theatre, wrote “The Walls of Jericho,” the troupe’s opening season show and the first in its new space on La Avenida in Mountain View. (Courtesy photo)
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Pear Avenue Theatre is on the move.

On Saturday, the Mountain View-based company is hosting a ribbon-cutting for its new facility on La Avenida, just a few blocks away from its current location on Pear Avenue.

Moving from a 40-seat space to one that accommodates 80 to 95, says artistic director Diane Tasca, will allow the company to grow and present larger scale shows, yet continue to present quality theater in an intimate setting.

An increase from 1,500 to 4,200 square feet, the new facility has a bigger, more flexible stage, a larger dressing room and lobby, a scene shop, separate bathrooms for the actors and audience, a storage loft, rehearsal room, small office area and kitchen.

“The fridge used to be backstage,” says Tasca, who adds that Google, the nonprofit group’s current landlord, has been “quite supportive over the years.”

The group will now be called Pear Theatre, due to the location change. But, as the case has been since the theater’s inception in 2002, programming for the upcoming season is ambitious.

The first show, opening Sept. 19, is the world premiere of “The Walls of Jericho” adapted by Tasca from the short story “Night Bus,” which was the basis of the Oscar-winning 1934 comedy “It Happened One Night” with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

“I loved working on it; it was fun,” says Tasca, calling her stage version more of a survival tale than the movie.

“It takes place in 1933, a month before FDR said, ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ and it’s much more aware of the effects of the Depression than the film.”

Still, it’s a romance; the title is taken from the name Gable’s character gives a blanket that gets draped over a clothesline, dividing a motel room the pair shares on their road trip.
The rest of the season lineup includes “Tribes” by Nina Raine, “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall, “Uncle Vanya” by Anton Chekhov, “The Beard of Avon” by Amy Freed, the annual “Pear Slices” short play festival and Tracy Letts’ “August: Osage County,” a piece with more than a dozen actors that Tasca says would have been too big to do in the theater on Pear Avenue.

Looking forward both to the new spot and upcoming shows, Tasca adds, “We always give ourselves big challenges and we just want to keep on doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve risen to the challenge every time.”

IF YOU GO
Pear Theatre
Where: 1110 La Avenida, Mountain View
When: September through July 2016
Tickets: $10 (previews) to $35
Contact: (510)843-4822, www.thepear.org

2015-16 season
The Walls of Jericho: Sept. 19–Oct. 4
Tribes: Nov. 6-22
The Mountaintop: Jan. 15–31
Uncle Vanya: Feb. 26–March 13
The Beard of Avon: April 8–24
Pear Slices 2016: May 13-29
August:Osage County: June 24–July 10

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