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STAGE BEAT

Justice Festers In Courtroom 'Game'

September 05, 1986|RAY LOYND

"The Game," at Nosotros, is a cynical but not unrealistic drama about the legal games that frequently fester like weeds in our justice system, especially murder trials.

Two rival and opportunistic young Chicano attorneys, who coincidentally are live-in lovers, turn an accused murderer into a pawn in a personal power struggle. Playwright Ron Trice's "Game" is flawed by overripe characters, a flabby dramatic structure and histrionics.

The florid emoting seems equally the fault of director Billy Y. Velez and some of the performers, but not all are overfueled. The bemused judge is expertly calibrated by actor Ray Victor, and Cesar A. Torres' self-serving lawyer is also well modulated.

Odalys (the actress' sole signature) fumes as the defense attorney locked in furious, personal battle with her boyfriend-prosecutor, but her earnestness is appealing and telling from a contemporary woman's viewpoint. Trice has written a character who strikes a stiletto in the male ego, and Odalys delivers this young woman who values work above love with almost undisguised fervor.

Joe Gironda, as her romantic and legal combatant, is also tense and earnest but in over his head, not only because he's up against a more burnished performer but because his character is so callow.

Even the audience gets to choose, by a show of "jury" hands, which side won; the gesture ruins the integrity of the play, but at that point it's academic.

Performances at 1314 N. Wilton Place, Hollywood, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., Sunday, 7 p.m. (with the understudy cast, not the one under review here), through Sept. 28, (213) 562-4313.

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