An Infinite Ache

REVIEW by Willard Manus

David Schulner's two-character, ninety-minute play, AN INFINITE ACHE, charts the up-and-down relationship between Hope (Suzy Nakamura) and Charles (Steven Klein), taking them from a first date through courtship, living together, breaking up, getting married, having and losing a child, going into therapy, chancing another child, watching it grow up and become a pain-in-the ass teenager, separation, reunion, grandparentage, career changes, illness and eventually death. A lot of territory is covered, but in a deft way with one scene transitioning to the next effortlessly and seamlessly, thanks to director Robin Larsen's magical wand.

Larsen has also been lucky with her actors, who make you believe in them whether they are young or old, joyous or depressed, healthy or infirm. Without benefit of makeup, elaborate costume changes or trickery of any kind, they capture the many sides of Hope and Charles, not just their outer but inner lives, the quirks and contradictions, joys and sorrows. Nakamura and Klein are two young actors to be watched.

Set designer Craig Siebels is also to be commended for his small but ingenious set, ditto the lighting and sound schemes of Mike Durst and William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes, respectively.

AN INFINITE ACHE is the playwright's term for the love that ultimately binds a couple like Hope and Charlie and keeps them jogging along in harness--with lots of tears, anger, joy and laughs along the way.

Through Oct. 24 at Black Dahlia Theatre, 5453 W. Pico Blvd. in L.A. Call (866) 468-3399 (toll free) or visit