Pear Theatre prides itself on helping to nurture local playwrights, and one of the ways they do it each season is with their Fresh Produce series of readings of plays in development. Co-coordinators of the program Paul and Robyn Ginsburg Braverman explain the program’s goal is to help the writers discover if what they’ve written is working and connecting with the audience.

The performances are this Friday night, and Saturday at 1:30 and 4, in Mountain View. There’s more information at the Pear Theatre website.

The three plays are Terms of Use, by Patrick Brennan, Barry Slater’s Confession, and Dr. Rowan, the Demon, and Love, by Carol Wolf. It was the experience of going to a festival for playwrights in Alaska that inspired Paul Braverman to start the Fresh Produce series. It’s a way of giving authors a chance to see the bones of a work. “These are readings that are done with no props, with no blocking on the stage, with no costume elements. It’s really just the actor, the script, the characters, the plot, and it really helps focus in on making sure that what the writer wants is on the page.” The plays are selected from among those submitted by members of the Pear Playwrights Guild, which has grown from about six or seven to now 20 or 30 since the theatre was founded in 2002. They’re not looking (necessarily) for future works for future seasons, although several have gone on to be produced. It’s really designed to help the process of writing, with both the opportunity to hear the text, and for audiences to give feedback for a half hour after each performance. “We’re much more focused on the playwright being able to fine-tune they play they’re trying to present. As such, we really work to empower the playwright and make each reading all about what the playwright is trying to get done… And that talkback the audience is framed by a handful of questions that we’ve obtained from the playwright to help shape the discussion and get the questions answered that the writer needs answered to further develop the piece.”

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