As Pear Theatre opens its 2020-21 season with a live-filmed production of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, a multi-generational look at war through the eyes of a Puerto Rican family, I was intrigued with the notion that I could enjoy this production from afar. Typically, I have the opportunity to attend productions at Pear Theatre during the winter months that I spend In Menlo Park, CA. I left California in early March 2020, and, of course, the world immediately turned upside down. However, the opportunity to be able to see a Pear Theatre performance from home was irresistible.
The play is fascinating. While much of the material that has been made available via Zoom and streaming is work that was created before the Covid-19 lockdown, this show is clearly and cleverly incorporating the Covid-19 guidelines while maintaining the feeling of being at a theatre performance. And people from everywhere can enjoy the wonderful work that Pear Theatre offers.
This show is presented in a digital format which can be accessed with an Internet connection, beginning August 14 and remaining available through September 13.Tickets ($30) and information are available by visiting www.thepear.org/season-19 or by calling (650) 254-1148.
This is the story of nineteen-year-old Elliot, a recently anointed hometown hero, returns from Iraq with a leg injury and a difficult question: Will he go back to war a second time? While on leave from military service, Elliot learns the stories of his father and grandfather who served in Vietnam and Korea before him, and their reactions to his desire to serve. His mother — also a Vietnam veteran, having served as a nurse — recounts her own narrative, one shared by countless families who welcome back soldiers from fields of war. Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue examines the personal and generational impact of war in a way that is evocative, poignant, and heartfelt.
This Pulitzer Prize finalist play is the first part of a trilogy written by Hudes, which also includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Water by the Spoonful, and The Happiest Song Plays Last. Hudes studied music at Yale University as an undergraduate before earning her master’s in playwriting from Brown University, and her work often merges the two disciplines. Like a fugue, the voices of Elliot, his father, mother, and grandfather overlap and interweave to create a cohesive whole. Each voice has its moment of prominence, being both underscored and counterpointed by the other voices. Hudes’ other works include the book for the Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights, a very strong recommendation.
In addition to the videos, tickets to Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue also include the ‘Backstage Pass’: interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at the production, live digital events such as talk-backs, and other opportunities for patrons to connect to one another and to the artists involved.
The cast includes Marco Neves as Elliot, Francisco Rodriguez as Pop, Gabriel Montoya as Grandpop, and Carolina Morones as Ginny. Kelly Weber Barraza stage manages, Marisely Cortes provides costumes, Kevin Davies designs the set, and Ed Hunter coordinates lighting. Tessa Corrie directs with Assistant Director Amy Lizardo.
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 musical revues or cutting-edge plays. Now in its nineteenth 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. After two years of growth under Artistic Director Betsy Kruse Craig, Pear Theatre is newly under the leadership of its third Artistic Director, Sinjin Jones.
WHEN: Show video available beginning August 14, 2020.
“Backstage Pass” videos posting before and after August 14.
Press members may receive access to the video prior to “opening.”
WHERE: Vimeo – password-protected link provided on confirmation of donation.
TICKETS: Tickets ($30) will grant access to a password-protected video of the show as well as behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, talk-backs, and other exclusive materials.
All photos by John Deven.