Herbert Tucker is at an impasse. His once-sparkling career as a Hollywood screenwriter is in the doldrums, his relationship with doting girlfriend Steffy seems likely to go the way of his several failed marriages, and his nineteen-year-old daughter Libby has triumphantly returned to his life with the demand that he make her "a star." Herb hasn't seen Libby since he abandoned her and her mother sixteen years ago, and he's pretty sure he could have gone another sixteen years before reuniting — but that's Herb's overwhelming problem: It's easier to evade problems with a clever retort than it is to confront them and (shudder) attempt to solve them. Neil Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures
is funny, like most of his plays, but it also has the downbeat sadness that marks his mid-period work. Herb and Libby are both wounded characters in non-funny ways, and the play's as much about finding out why and how that is as it is about delivering zingy one-liners for the audience's delight. West End Players Guild presents I Ought to Be in Pictures
at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (November 13 through 22) at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; www.westendplayers.org
or 314-367-0025). Tickets are $18.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 13. Continues through Nov. 22, 2009