Posted by hpalmer on July 24, 2017
I really can’t remember how I heard about That’s Weird Grandma, but “Pear and Apple” made my first experience as an audience member unforgettable.
The actors moved quickly in the dark. The epistolary story was introduced. A spotlight focused on solitary Apple, supported by a pedestal. With warm familiarity, Apple sweetly beseeched Pear. “Dear Pear, You are lucky because you have a good view of the city. I would like it if you consider changing places with me. Sincerely, Apple.”
The spotlight darkened and, an instant later, bathed a solitary Pear, on its own pedestal, in light. “Dear Apple,” Pear began, lulling both Apple and the audience into the illusion of safe and delicate
correspondence. “You are weird and no I do not want to change with you. I like it here. We can’t switch anyway we are attached to the branch.”
Pear’s boldness! Its coldly practical response to Apple! It was hilarious. But then the thing that made me unable to stop laughing the rest of the evening happened. Pear signed the letter with a
brilliant, final stroke against Apple. “I hate you. Pear.”
This story is radiantly funny. Even beyond his brilliant comedic flair, Nick, author of “Pear and Apple,” perfectly conveys the characters of both of his subjects in no more than five sentences and two smartly-chosen letter closing. The audience sees both characters so clearly through the language of their short correspondence. Apple is optimistic and idealistic with hints of being an operator. Pear, on the other hand, is pragmatic, analytical, and direct. Probably an introvert, Pear’s colleagues and friends praise its creative genius and criticize its blunt leadership style. Apple could have been Pete Campbell and Pear, Don Draper.
Pear and Apple took me by surprise that night. It remains one of the most efficient character studies as well as one of the most bitingly funny pieces I’ve ever encountered. There are many stories from our students that have struck me. Stories that have made me laugh and cry. Stories that have stuck with me throughout the next day or week or month. Or longer. Stories that I return to. Stories, in all of their forms, are so important to conveying our own human experience – whether it’s through comedy, drama, or something in between. I’m delighted to be a part of an organization that prizes individual voice and storytelling and works to actively engage artists of all ages in this important work. I hope you can join Barrel of Monkeys as we celebrate 20 years of intergenerational storytelling on July 27th . Maybe you’ll get to meet Pear and Apple too.