'Marathons' Goes Distance in Collection of One-Acts

Throughout "Currently Married," a collection of one-acts now at the Interact Theatre, playwright Terri Wagener displays a sweet, winsome naturalness that seldom cloys as she examines the various stages of five relationships, from the halting, hopeful exchanges of first meeting to the serene rhythms of old love.

The evening commences on a somewhat precious note with "Last Date for Reservations," directed by Steven Gilborn, in which a laconic couple gropes for conversation while their stubbornly adolescent alter egos emerge to provide uncensored commentary on their every action.

In "The Psychopath and the Virgin," an elderly eccentric, Tyler (Sandy Kenyon), tracks down his elusive former love Charlotte (Eve Brenner). With the help of director Barry Heins, the inspirationally sexy Brenner and Kenyon make us believe that age is no barrier to romance.

The tensely witty "Oh Baby Oh Baby," directed by Kevin Kelley, concerns a frazzled new father who, on his first outing away from his wife and new baby, is subtly vamped by a desirable young woman at a party. "Tailors' Eyes," a portrait of a troubled marriage, lapses into a self-indulgent chattiness that is exacerbated by the plodding pace of Sharon Madden's direction.

The performances in all of the pieces are assured. However, the unalloyed triumph of the evening is "Marathons," directed by Anita Khanzadian, co-director of the Interact's celebrated production of "Counsellor-at-Law." Marilyn McIntyre (also of "Counsellor-at-Law") and Mark Dane Torresco play a man and woman who meet by chance while competing in the New York Marathon, during which the entire action of the piece transpires. The direction is taut, the performances humorously touching (not to mention athletic)--and if you're looking for a metaphor for the vicissitudes and triumphs of human relationships, the setting just can't be beat.

* "Currently Married," Interact Theatre, 11855 Hart Street, North Hollywood. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Ends April 6. $15. (213) 660-8587. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

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