Two old lovers come together in a dingy motel room to reveal their past and their pain in Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” Eddie (Mark Kelly) and May (Isabelle Dahlin) smolder with intense desire for one another. They can’t stand to be together, but they can’t stand to be apart, volleying between love and hate.

Eddie has returned from a prolonged absence to claim May for himself. May hesitantly resists him; she insists she’s moved on with her life.

All the while, a mysterious figure (Jim Peters) sits in the corner. He listens to May and Eddie with rapt attention.

He follows the action from an unknown space. He berates them, chides them and sneers at them for their foolish choices.

The play picks up speed when happy-go-lucky lawn care specialist Martin (Michael Cornacchia) shows up to take May to the movies. He questions Eddie and May’s fragile relationship. Eddie spills out the answers to the unassuming new boyfriend.

At its heart, “Fool for Love” is a simple play about complicated lives, but Kelly and Dahlin bring this potboiler to full steam. The sexual tension between them sizzles.

Cornacchia has a casual ease about him. There is a lightness and grace to him that belies a man of his stature and size. He brings a keen sense of humor to the play just when it needs a laugh.

Director Maia Peters keeps the taut one act play moving at a dynamic pace, clocking in at a brisk 62 minutes. Tickets are only $15 ($10 on Thursdays), making it one of the best theater deals in town.

El Centro Theatre is located at 804 N. El Centro Avenue in Hollywood. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/foolforloveinla.