STRANGER THAN DELORES, Naked Earth Theatre, at European Repertory Company. Since the death of their son, Maddie and Madison have become strangers to each other–or so they pretend. Rendezvousing at the train station where Madison works as a security guard, they improvise scene after scene of fortuitous introduction. But no amount of playacting can erase their sorrowful memories or forestall the confrontation of their guilt and anger.

Barbara Lhota’s Strangers, the second of two one-acts presented by Naked Earth Theatre under the title “Stranger Than Delores,” needs to be more tightly focused than it is here. Several plot twists flare and fizzle too swiftly to help us understand the characters, and the abrupt resolution is achieved only by ignoring already-established conventions. Lhota’s premise is original, however, and the chemistry between Kirsten Daurelio and Don Parker as the bereaved parents is certainly engaging.

Unfortunately this flawed but promising work is preceded by Edward Allan Barker’s Delores, a ten-year-old tract on domestic abuse now drearily outdated in its portrait of societal indifference and its conclusion that homicide is the only possible outcome. A dry and didactic dialogue staged unenthusiastically, it offers little to hold our attention aside from the company’s amusing attempts to adapt European Rep’s CinemaScope-size set for Agamemnon to the needs of a television-sized theme.

–Mary Shen Barnidge