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Echo One-Act Festival

The lion's share of this evening of six one-acts hews to a template: Two people — one drunk — hash out their diametrically opposed world views and teeter off with souls wounded and minds opened. There's clever writing to spare, but in each, the energy and promise of depth flags before the curtain. Directed by Stefan Novinski, David Ives' "The Other Woman" changes the manic-stranger theme to an even-keeled wife who has just become a wild, paranoid, horny sleepwalker; her husband is stymied and stricken with guilt — is he cheating on his wife with his wife? — but this play, too, cuts off before its questions flourish. Standouts are Julia Cho's "Three Women," a streamlined and effective short play about the pressures of womanhood in which a mother (Kit Pongetti) and grandmother (Ruth Silviera) undermine their dreams that daughter Allison (Lucy Griffin) will live a fuller life than their own by nudging her toward marriage and kids. Director Josh Moyse has a good grip on Cho's clever fast-forwarding of time. Also quite good is Padriac Duffy's "The Dirty Laundry of Marjorie," a tone-perfect tragicomedy about two blue-collar housewives (Alison Martin and Tara Karsian, both excellent) stuck in a too-small town, staged with empathy and humor by Chris Fields. Stage 52 Theatre, 5299 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 15. (800) 413-8669. Presented by Echo Theatre Company.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through Feb. 15, 2009


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