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The Two of Us. This group of four short plays is Michael Frayn's earliest theatrical work. Its genesis came in 1970, when he submitted Black & Silver for an evening of one-acts, was rejected, and decided to write three more pieces and create The Two of Us. The first playlet, the original Black & Silver, follows a couple trying to recapture the magic of their Venice honeymoon three years later — only now they have their squalling baby in tow. They try to sleep. The baby wakes and cries. They mutter and argue, rock the cradle and change the diaper. There's a lot of stumbling about in the half dark and unfunny tumbling over chairs. The second play is quite wonderful, however: A young man shows up at the home of an older woman he met at a party the night before, determined to move in; she's puzzled, irritated, anxious to get rid of him. But by the time he's through weaving verbal nets of crazy connections and bits of popular science, and expounding on his bizarre philosophy — in which people not only say the opposite of what they mean, but actually feel the opposite of what they think they feel — she's getting a bit swoony. In the third playlet, a man expresses himself almost entirely through his foot, while his exasperated wife carries on a monologue with an imaginary person and gets drunk on imaginary booze. The final offering concerns a disastrous dinner party. The evening is uneven: flashes of brilliance, stretches of boredom and moments of sheer exhilaration, but you can see in this skilled production the techniques and ideas that will inform Frayn's body of brilliant mature work. Presented by Miners Alley through May 20, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, 303-935-3044, www.minersalley.com. Reviewed April 19.

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