A familiar road, nicely travelled – ‘Trying’ at ICT Long Beach

Mentor-protégé dramas are one answer to a set of evolutionary pressures on modern theatres.  In that vein, Joanna McClelland Glass’s ‘Trying’ at ICT Long Beach through 14 September is a handsome ride to a familiar destination.  Retired Judge Biddle of Nuremberg trial fame and Japanese Internment infamy is getting on in years, can’t handle his finances, or get off the schneid with his letters and memoirs.  This being the 1960s, the obvious answer is to hire a secretary and he’s gone through a series of them Murphy Brown-style.  In comes newlywed Sarah Schorr of Saskatoon, ready to try her hand at helping the crufty gent get his stuff together before he passes the blinking EXIT sign of life.  It’s another gorgeously set and lit ICT show (JR Bruce and Donna Ruzika) with every used book in LA piled on stage.  There’s even a working typewriter, a dictaphone, and chunks of the story are telegraphed.  Much is up to the leads to make it all pop and they come through.  Tony Abatemarco played a similar role at ICT a year ago as Mark Rothko in ‘Red.’   He’s partnered here with Paige Lindsey White whose name is heard with increasing frequency around town.  Theirs is an Ed Asner/Mary Tyler Moore chemistry starting at the interview where he grills her on her origins, marital status, and religion. It’s this spark that  informs and ultimately elevates a linear often edumacational script.  There is little doubt where we’re going but it is a nice trip.

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