PINTERACTS, Writers’ Theatre Chicago. Keeping the romance alive isn’t easy after ten years of marriage, but the stodgy suburban couple in Harold Pinter’s The Lover stoke the fires with elaborate games that liberate them from their upper-class inhibitions (he plays a scruffy park superintendent, she’s a vulgar dollymop). Then one partner begins to introduce disruptive, threatening story lines, forcing the other to improvise the way back to mutual harmony.

For over three decades The Lover has been a staple of drama classes and low-budget postgraduate theater companies attracted by the multilayered subtext and small number of actors required. So a full production with seasoned performers is welcome. Under Robert Scogin’s capable direction, Michael Halberstam and Rebecca Covey generate a controlled chemistry, deftly maintaining the clarity of their fantasy-playing characters’ motives despite Pinter’s sleight of hand narrative.

Raising the curtain on this evening of one-acts is the likewise oft produced The Dumbwaiter, in which two corporate-cog hit men confront the menace of downsizing and potential termination. As the insecure assassins, Christian Gray and Halberstam (who carries a firearm more appropriate to a cowboy than a gangster) might have connected a little more definitely, but individually their interpretations are easily up to par. A major-league tech team puts the final coat of polish on this well-crafted Writers’ Theatre Chicago production.

–Mary Shen Barnidge