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Estranged Family Ties Make for Good Drama at Falcon Theatre

'I Ought to Be in Pictures' delivers a gripping look at the relationship between a screenwriter and his young adult daughter.

If you are interested in a play about a relationship between a father and daughter look no further than The Falcon Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be In Pictures running through Nov. 11 in Burbank.

This photograph of the love and respect between a father and daughter may be rough around the edges, but bright as dawn everywhere else.  

When struggling screenwriter Herbert Tucker finds his estranged 19-year-old daughter Libby on his doorstep., convinced he can give her the silver screen acting career she deserves, and demanding the fatherly guidance he owes her, Tucker is forced to deal with the realities of fatherhood and a renewed sense of direction that may affect his relationship with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Steffy.

This three-person saga of family reborn set in 1980 is not merely funny, but thought-provoking and in many ways inspirational.  

During the final minutes of the play when Tucker talks on the phone an estranged family member for the first time in sixteen years, a pin drop can be heard in the theater.

This play is truly one of Simon’s lesser-known, but more admirable efforts. It combines a profound understanding of family with that of the tawdry and often unstable nature of show business and Hollywood.

Gregg W. Brevoort’s direction is spot-on as he allows each character the room to grow and space to fail.  

The pace is quick, but the actors are human beings, not pawns. Brevoort last directed the highly regarded production of Annie Hendy’s The Catholic Girl’s Guide To Losing Your Virginity at The Falcon.

His ability to underscore Simon’s issues of universal interest make him the perfect director for this play.

Kelly Hare (Steffy) is convincing and believable. Her wisdom and down-to-earth grit are enchanting.

Robert Wuhl (Herbert Tucker) makes for a tender yet robust father. His warmth and sense-of-humor mark a performance strong in virtually every aspect.

But it is Genevieve Joy (Libby) who runs away with the play. Her spontaneity, natural charm and wit give the play vulnerability, vibrancy and truth. She is the driving force behind this piece.

Adding to the play are Joanie Coyote’s costume design, Jeremy Pivnick’s lighting design and Robert Arturo Ramirez’ sound design.

All in all, Simon has been done so frequently that performing his work from a new angle or in a different frequency is risky and difficult. This production does both famously. This show once more proves The Falcon’s dedication to quality theater.

The second production of the 2012-13 season provides not only those theater-lovers in the San Fernando Valley, but Los Angeles, a fruitful and enlightening outlet for the performing arts.   

Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505     

Weekdays (Wed/Thurs): $34.50-$37.00. Weekends (Fri/Sat/Sun): $39.50-$42.00. Student Rate (valid student ID): $27.00. Reservations: 818-955-8101.  

kenneth scalir October 25, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Genevieve Joy is a breath of fresh air. Maybe the best actress of her generation!
yjnqaz October 29, 2012 at 09:45 AM
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Gary November 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Robert Wuhl is amazing!. Genevieve tries to get on board, but her body language has a whole different dynamic. She seems like a sleazy broad that would do anything to make it. Lost soul saying hi...
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