Trying a Deftly Steered Tribute
Trying is a sweet, small play that won't set the world on fire, but may touch hearts. Joanna Glass' autobiographical play about her eight months as Judge Francis Biddle's personal secretary is getting a kindly production at Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach. There's a lot of gentle humor in the play, principally from Biddle, who is still sharp enough to turn a clever phrase, and Glass' tactful depiction of failing powers. Peter Haig's portrayal of the prickly aristocrat is light-handed and communicates the self-awareness that makes Biddle lovable, despite his rudeness and nit-picking about the proper use of language and details of office etiquette. Christine Carroll's Sarah has backbone, intelligence and a heartland heartiness. The show is deftly steered by Nanique Gheridian. She pays careful attention to the rhythm of the script, which balances humor with pathos during moments like Biddle's final farewell to his over-the-garage office, when ill health forces him to move his work to the main house.