Controlling Influences at Theatre of Note

Theatre of Note is glancing back to its heyday in this evening of one-acts. The second, and most interesting of the two plays, was originally produced by the group in 1986.

The opener, a light comedy, just barely misses sitcom through its clever premise. Max is cooking dinner for his fiancee Doris, but his labors are interrupted by hack writer Ernie Penman. The twist is that, unknown to Max, his life follows a scenario written by Penman before Max was born, but his editor has mistakenly inserted eight blank pages in the saga, which leave it "Subject to Rewrites."

Under Ed de'Leal's energetic direction, John Storey and D.C. Douglas have a wonderful time as the hero and his author, and Stacey Havener, who looks like Marilyn Monroe while sounding like Jean Hagen, is delightful as the ditzy, undecided fiancee. It's fluff but funny.

Much stronger and more arresting is the revival, "Waiting for the Rain," by Stewart Skelton. The intense direction by Phil Ward and Dyanne DiRosario brings strong focus to a character study of a young man who has a habit of dragging home runaways from a neighboring park to alleviate his loneliness.

Mark McPherson gives an intricate, touching performance as the reclusive country boy Eric, but his running chatter (his visitor doesn't speak) can't seem to break down the emotional wall surrounding the woman he rescued from the rain. Esther Ives Williams has a good quirky edge as the silent lost soul who has her own ideas about how the evening will end.

At 1705 N. Kenmore Ave., Hollywood; Fridays & Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; ends July 22. $10; (213) 666-5550.

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