Pear Theatre’s second round of Pear Pairings – “Eight Nights” in repertory with “The Thanksgiving Play” – runs through Sunday in Mountain View.
Jennifer Maisel’s “Eight Nights” won the 2021 Ovation Award for Best Playwriting. The drama chronicles the legacy of trauma, stemming from dark eras of human history, the ensuing ripple effect it has on multiple lives and the power and resiliency of the human spirit.
Holocaust survivor Rebecca Blum arrives in America at 19 and observes Hanukkah in the same apartment during eight nights over eight decades (from 1949 to 2016). Rebecca, her family and friends wrestle with vanquishing a haunting, shared past and warmly unite to celebrate the holiday season.
“How do people go on after something (traumatic) like this happens to them?” Maisel said. “From African-American slave culture to Japanese Americans in the internment camps to the people who were in the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, people survive and move on in varying ways. … (This play) is about people finding a way to live after surviving loss and trauma, and witnessing how that brings joy to the future.”
The cast includes Chris Mahle (as Erich Blum), Maria Marquis (Anna Blum and Rebecca), Skylar Rose Adams (Rebecca Blum, Amy and Nina), Max Mahle (Aaron), Anthony Doan (Steven and Inge), Sinjin Jones (Benjamin) and Rolanda Bell (Arlene and Lacey).
“The Thanksgiving Play” comes from award-winning playwright and choreographer Larissa FastHorse. The farce follows three woke white theater artists trying their best to put on a play about Thanksgiving without offending anyone. Spoiler alert: It does not go well.
“‘The Thanksgiving Play’ is really about performative wokeness,” FastHorse said. “It’s about four people showing how woke they are – more specifically, trying to create a culturally sensitive first Thanksgiving play for children during Native American heritage month – and how enlightened they are without maybe actually being it. … The play challenges the myths surrounding Thanksgiving, and how celebrating the holiday erases and flattens indigenous experiences.”
The cast comprises Chris Mahle (as Caden), Skylar Rose Adams (Alicia), Maria Marquis (Logan) and Max Mahle (Jaxton).
Michael Champlin directs both productions.
Performances of “The Thanksgiving Play” are slated 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Performances of “Eight Nights” are scheduled 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Audiences are capped at 60 people to allow an empty seat between each group. Masks and proof of vaccination are required.
Tickets to each show are $35-$42.
The Pear Theatre is located at 1110 La Avenida St.
For tickets and more information, call (650) 254-1148 or visit thepear.org.