Pear takes 'Steps' into new decade

Michael Kruse Craig/Special to the Town Crier
Elizabeth (Betsy Kruse Craig, left) and her hard-drinking tycoon husband, Roland (Todd Wright, center), consider buying their rental home with help from their lawyer, Tristram (Max Tachis), in Pear Theatre’s production of “Taking Steps.” The play is slated to open this week.

Pear Theatre kicks off the decade with the farce “Taking Steps,” written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by Troy Johnson. The play is slated to preview Thursday, open Friday and run through Feb. 9 in Mountain View.

“Steps” is a story of six characters packed in a supposedly haunted Victorian house: Roland Crabbe, a wealthy businessman who constantly drinks; Elizabeth Crabbe, Roland’s wife, an ex-dancer who is considering a divorce; Leslie Bainbridge, the home’s builder desperate to sell due to his financial struggles; Tristram Watson, the lawyer in charge of the purchase of the house; Mark Boxer, Elizabeth’s brother; and Kitty, Mark’s fiancée.

“This is farce, so it’s more plot driven than character driven, and the bounds of believability will be stretched a bit,” Johnson said. “As in all comedy, but especially in farce, the key is that the actors have to play everything as seriously as possible, or the comedy is lost.”

Although the story takes place on three levels of the house, the stage is set so that all three levels are performed on a one-level stage.

“When two characters might be listening to someone dancing or jumping on the ‘second’ floor, she may in actuality be standing right between them while this happens,” Pear publicist Stephanie Crowley said. “Ayckbourn loved to play with strange conventions like this. Tricky stage work.”

Johnson added, “In all honesty, I hadn’t fully realized how much fun that adds to the piece, and it started to foment in our collective consciousness at the second blocking rehearsal, and we’re all now working very hard to exploit this conceit.”

Performances are scheduled 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida St. Tickets are $35; $20 for the preview.

For tickets and more information, call 254-1148 or visit


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