If the most powerful theatre concerns the fact that we die or that what we love dies (or simply that we love,) then local theatergoers have two excellent productions to consider this week.

In one, Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of “Hearts Like Fists” a rock ‘em sock ‘em band of female crimefighters take the stage at Chemeketa Community College Auditorium to solve the mystery of a spate of murders of lovers while they sleep.

Hearts Like Fists. Photo by Linda Warner.

Play written by Adam Szymkowicz, directed by Jay Gipson-King, the comedy thriller spans two rotating stages, 10 locations, numerous fight scenes and multiple simultaneous goings on. One fighter is in love with the villain, one is in love with his next big victim. Some characters die, some come to understand themselves and the audience hangs on for dear life.

A very different production is offered by The Verona Studio with the US Premier of British playwright Gail Louw’s “The Half-Life of Love.”

In a seamless presentation that blends strong direction and riveting performances, the play progresses from revelation to revelation, as withdrawn middle-aged Alex is visited one night by the 17-year old adopted son of her abusive ex-partner. Complications ensue in the examination of adopted children and the effects of abuse on vicims and the youth who witness it.

An excellent cast enacts the consequences, with Pamela Bilderbeck as the soulful Alex, Barry Saxton as the defiant Conner and Raissa Fleming as the relentlessly villainous Eamonn. It’s a superb drama about love and loss, uniquely suited to the intimate ‘Black Box’ of the Verona Studio stage.

Hearts Like Fists

Ends soon! Performances May 11, 12 and 13

Tickets at keizerhoegrowntheatre.org

The Half Life of Love

Ends soon! Performances May 12, 13, 19 and 20

Tickets at theveronastudio.com