AN INFINITE ACHE, Living Moments Theatre, at the Viaduct Theater. People of many ages should identify with David Schulner’s Cliffs Notes version of the decades-long relationship between Charles (Jason Glick, who also directs) and Hope (Katherine Keberlein). Glick nimbly executes Schulner’s high-speed approach in his staging, marking the passage of a few days or several years with a subtle light change or a character’s exit or reentry. In just over an hour we witness the couple’s first date, prewedding jitters, postwedding jitters, child-rearing heartbreak, empty-nest distancing, and elderly deterioration. Throughout, they struggle to balance individual needs and partnership compromises while maintaining some semblance of romance.

Some of the dialogue seems like self-conscious stumbling or smacks of a bad sitcom: “I’m lost without you.” “Then you need a map, not a relationship.” But Glick and Keberlein transcend the phony banter, presenting recognizable characters. Truly, the most intriguing aspect of the first half for me was the challenge of figuring out how these two–he’s an endearing but needy oaf, and she’s an elegant, spoiled iceberg–could ever get together. But by the end it’s hard not to be touched by the realistic separations and reconciliations of two lives entwined from selfish youth to mellow old age. Confession: I even cried a little at the end.