In 1967, a young Canadian immigrant found part-time employment as a secretary to lawyer Francis Biddle in Georgetown, Washington D.C. Doddering to a degree and growing more frail as the “exit sign flashed” before him, Biddle was also a man of staggering judicial experience.
Sarah Shore was a self-assured autodidact that didn’t let her lack of formal education leave her vulnerable to intimidation even by someone as formidable as Biddle, a former attorney general to Franklin Roosevelt. Their seven-month relationship is the focus of Bravo Theatre’s production of “Trying,” written by Joanna Glass, based on her true experience as secretary to Biddle, and directed by Bernadette Jones.
Biddle, no stranger to scorching the souls of every secretary who has crossed his home-office threshold, is played by the impressive Roger Larson – last seen at lakeside in the title role of Bravo’s “Visiting Mr. Green.” Larson is an actor of stature, able to evoke a fierce exterior while exposing the natural humanizing that can come with old age. His Biddle still has his wits about him, enabling him to respond to the numerous inquires about his experiences, not just as Roosevelt’s A.G, but also his time spent as the U.S. judge at the Nuremberg Trials. These fascinating tidbits are shared with the audience mostly through responding to reporters’ and biographers’ questions from the outside world. Inside the tidy office, however, Biddle is more interested in correcting Sarah’s grammatical errors than in sharing wisdom garnered from his exceptional work experience.