Neil Simon comedy ‘I Ought To Be in Pictures’ at Dalton Little Theatre

It’s bad enough for Herb that his estranged daughter has shown up on his West Hollywood doorstep. Worse still is the fact she’s convinced he can arrange an acting career for her.

I Ought To Be in Pictures,” a comedy/drama written by Neil Simon, will be presented for a seven-show run at the Dalton Little Theater beginning Thursday.

“With Neil Simon,” said director William Visher, “you just can’t get past the writing — crisp, clear and right on point.”

In a three-character show like “I Ought To Be in Pictures,” he said, the actors must be strong enough to help the playwright’s dialogue shine.

Visher, who has appeared in a number of plays at Chattanooga Theatre Centre, said he has those actors in Hardie Dawn, Sarah Parsons and Maria Rochelle.

“I’m really happy and excited about the casting,” he said. “They all do real justice to the words, the dialogue. They carry it off real well — the emotional highs and lows, the laughter, the pathos. It goes together seamlessly.”

In the story, Herb, who left his family some 16 years earlier, is struggling as a writer. His daughter’s visit, and request for help, forces him to deal with his career, his role as a parent and his tenuous relationship with his girlfriend.

The play, which premiered in Los Angeles in 1979, is set in the 1970s, Visher said. He toyed with the idea of updating it in just a few places but chose to leave it as a period piece.

“A chunk of people will get all the dated gags,” he said. “It was a great era.

“It’s marvelous,” Visher said of the show. “It should not be missed.”

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