Silicon Valley to the World – “This is a play procured under strange circumstances,” the narrator tells the audience as she strolls out and, rather emotionally, shares her joy in returning to the stage after a year of sheltering-in-place. “This play is incomplete,”she warns. “It is a made of only sketches from other plays, a hapless jumbled notebook of unfinished scenes and thoughts…”
Inspired by the writings of Italo Calvino, playwright Christopher Chen has us on the edge of our seats with The Late Wedding. We wait to hear what else we’ve signed on for… But then there is a pause. We exhale. Mistake.
“So, imagine this,” the narrator continues, “you were and still are a straight shooter, with no interest in winking second-person narrative stunts… Will you trust the play to treat you well? In the end, you want to believe in the play, believe you can forge a relationship with it. You are rooting for it to seduce you…”
And then, like a costumed horse race, the play is off and running with the narrator serving as an “anthropologist who will lead you through the journey,” and into scenes that shuffle us through “fantastical allegorical cities,” mimicking Calvino, and replacing cities with marriages, making them “invisible,” we’re told. Bobbing and weaving, Chen leaves us breathless.
There are six “interpretations” of marriage and relationship, including one aptly titled “Life in Lockdown” and ending with the show’s title “The Late Wedding.” Throughout this Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride of play writing, we’re introduced to various hypothetical tribes of people, each group with its own way of holding what a a marriage relationship should be and what all that entails. Amongst these are the people of “Study Number One” who are “so rooted in the past their minds are complex nests of shared legends…,” and who consider the success of the relationship only as good as the ability to share accurate memories of what has already happened. “Study Number Two” Or “Marriage in Endless Honeymoon,”introduces people who believe that marriage is an endless honeymoon (would that this could be possible!); in the words of the narrator, “The euphoria of the promise is what is held to be sacred…” (again, would that this could be possible!) “Study Number Three,” or “Marriage by Death” shall remain for those who are brave to explore without a spoiler. “Study Number Four” or “Marriage of Renewal” might be near and dear to some hearts here as it expresses a bond built upon a constant need for learning new things. Anything one does needs to prove to have a revelation: “A revelation is knowledge uncovered rather than learned…”
Throughout the play there are Interludes; these morph crazily into espionage bits and related vignettes, none having anything to do with the snippets on marriage… Or do they? Along the way the playwright here has thrown in some of his own musings: a grocery list, questions to himself about the procession of the play, the unfolding of ideas, relevant dialogue. The characters begin speaking the playwright’s self-queries and notes… And just when we think we might have it all figured out (or we’ve given up and are hoping to be shown the way…) we see the time has flown and the narrator has returned to remind us this is “an invisible play” and that “a conclusion’s definite shadow” might be offered… “but not quite an end…” This is a play for you if you want to feel drawn in to a set of stories- and want to feel yourself unable to be drawn out.
Director Sinohui Hinojosa is a Bay Area storyteller, community organizer,creative consultant, media instructor, film festival producer, and father and husband. His creative business interests are varied and include working with filmmakers, supporting community theater, and organizing a team of over 1,000 non-professional singers, the San Jose Pop Up Choir, in Silicon Valley.
Annamarie MacLeod Narrator
Carissa Ratanaphanyarat Lee, Raya, Mrs. Weatherby, Jean
Gaz Jemeel Adama, Jamie, Captain
John S. Boles Interviewer, General, Sailor
Moshe Goodman Curtis, Casen, Stranger, Han
Stephen Kanaski Kel, Spy, Innkeeper, Jorda
Tyler Jeffreys Fen, Evelyn, Eleanor, Ali
Producer and Pear Artistic Director: Sinjin Jones
Director: Sinohui Hinojosa
Stage Manager: Kelly Weber Barraza
Set Designer: Kevin Davies
Lighting Designer: Ben Hemmen
Costume Designer: Audra Batter
Sound Designer: Sinjin Jones
Visual Media Artists: Sinohui Hinojosa & Sinjin Jones
Publicity Director: Stephanie Crowley
Program Consultant: Susan Petit
Production Manager: Kelly Weber Barraza
Pear Technical Director: Kevin Davies
This is the season finale for The Pear Theatre. The show will run one month until July 18th.
The Pear Theatre is located at 1110 LA AVENIDA STREET • MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA 94043.
Audiences can see the show in person, indoors on Friday nights and Saturday mornings; live-streamed online Friday nights; or in person outdoors on Saturday and Sunday matinees, though many performances are already sold out.
For ticket information call 650/254-1148 or visit the Pear Theatre web site at https://www.thepear.org/.
Text ©2021 Michele Caprario Photos coutesy of Squirrel Visuals; used with permission