Bonnie Goldberg

Imagine being a private detective with a listening device planted in a couple’s bedroom and being privy to their most intimate moments, over a lifetime of their years together.  You might feel elated to overhear their secrets, uncomfortable when you listened to their arguments, excited when you eavesdrop on their pillow talk, anguished when you overhear their most personal tragedy.

David Schulner has given you permission to travel life’s journey with Charles and Hope in “An Infinite Ache” at Stamford Theatre Works until Sunday, May 11.  From an awkward first date that seems fated to end badly all the way to the rocking chair and nursing home scene, we follow this couple through much of life’s heartaches and happinesses and all the stuff that is sandwiched like an Oreo filling inbetween.

Tristan Colton’s Charles and Vanessa Kai’s Hope start off with anticipations and expectations that seem at odds with each other.  To her, he seems too eager and ingratiating, not the mysterious and aloof stranger she is seeking.  To him, she can be anything but an actress and has to want marriage and children as he does.

Her Chinese and Philippine background is not a perfect match for his Jewish traditions.  Yet a bad date that seems doomed to end with happily never after takes a sharp left turn and becomes a lifetime of tomorrows.  With promise and compromise, the two find themselves making a commitment that is tested time and again over the years.

Their ups and downs and ins and outs, their beginnings and endings, are strung together like a strand of pearls, each one a composite of small moments.  Steve Karp directs the flash forward motion with skill and poignancy.

For tickets ($25-43), call STW, 200 Strawberry Hill Avenue, Stamford, on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy, at 203-359-4414.  Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

STW is having a gala twentieth anniversary celebration, in honor of founder and producing director Steve Karp, on Monday, May 19 at 6:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich.  The event will feature a cocktail hour with open bar and hors d’oeuvres, a seated dinner and a live and silent auction.  Call the theatre for reservations.

Hop aboard Charles and Hope’s rollercoaster of a marriage and buckle up for the bumps and blessings along the way.

(This will appear in the Middletown Press on May 8, 2008.)

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