Sometimes, all we want is peace, quiet and an empty train car.

What we get, instead, is another passenger who is a nonstop talker either incapable of reading your mood or totally disregarding it.

So begins the very funny "2 Across," now on the stage at Invisible Theatre.

This laugh train is an express BART, on its way from the San Francisco Airport to the East Bay, about an 80-minute ride.

It's about 4 in the a.m. She has just taken her 18-year-old son to the airport to fly off for Marine boot camp. He has just gotten off work.

They both have crossword puzzles - the New York Times crossword. She is orderly, detail-oriented and prone to finishing the puzzles - in ink. She looks down on anyone who fills them out in pencil and just halfway. And, wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what he does.

Director Gail Fitzhugh has delivered a well-timed, tightly focused production of this Jerry Mayer script. It bops along nicely, with so many laugh lines that there's hardly time to breathe between them.

It helps that the actors in this two-person cast know what they are doing. Maedell Dixon and David Alexander Johnston slid into their characters with ease. She was thin-lipped and exasperated; he was relentless in his pursuit of … well, it's hard to tell exactly what. Mostly connection it seems.

They both come around to see the other's perspective with a grace that was believable - and line deliveries that were well-timed and aimed at the funny bone.

The playwright's background in writing television sitcoms is evident here. There is a story line and a serious issue or two dealt with, but the real point here is to laugh.

If you want some peace and quiet (and an empty train car), this isn't the play for you.

But if you're up for an evening of comedy, get on board. This lightweight play is serious fun.


"2 Across"

• Presented by: Invisible Theatre.

• Playwright: Jerry Mayer.

• Director: Gail Fitzhugh.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 28. There's an additional 3 p.m. matinee Nov. 20, and no performance Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.

• Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.

• Tickets: $25. Half-price tickets available one-half hour before curtain, subject to availability.

• Reservations/information: 882-9721.

• Running time: 85 minutes, with no intermission.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at or 573-4128.