Trying times at Rosebud Theatre
Inspired by her own experience as Judge Francis Biddle?s secretary in his final year Joanna McClelland Glass gives audiences a look into two very different lives that are brought together in her play, Trying.
Rosebud Theatre premiered the first play of their 25th anniversary year, Trying, on March 14 to a full house.
Directed by Morris Ertman, the two-man play got lots of laughs from the audience while Saskatoon native Sarah Schorr, played by Cari Russell, finds the task of helping geriatric Judge Biddle, played by Roger Hamm, through his final year a little trying at times. Biddle himself has the perfect words for the situation.
?We can?t help but find each other extremely trying.?
The play brings together the unlikely pairing of Schorr and Biddle who eventually find their less than ideal lives give them something in common. The wounded pair provide each other with exactly what they need, someone to listen and someone to encourage.
The 25-year-old, head-strong Schorr is starting a new life in a loveless marriage and a child on the way that poses an obstacle to her dreams of being a serious writer. Russell is perfectly cast for the roll with an optimistic demeanor and a chip on her shoulder only the prairies can dole out.
She ambitiously takes the position as secretary for the arthritic and cranky Biddle, knowing she?s following a line of former secretaries who just couldn?t tolerate Biddle?s many daily demands.
While Biddle makes no secret of the discomfort his deteriorating health, brings Hamm makes the unpleasant character and his duty of dying, more human. His old fashioned nature brings with it some good laughs and accentuates the generation gap between himself and Schorr. Witnessing the regrets he has about his life, wishing he had fought harder for certain causes, makes the audience feel what Schorr felt for the old man.
Although Trying is filled with references to Biddle?s influential career, which included being Franklin Roseveldt?s last attorney general and the chief judge at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, it?s easily enjoyed by those without a knack for political history.
The set and props are perfectly chosen for the 1967 setting. Rosebud Theatre, as always, caught a moment in time and re-created it perfectly, right down to the smallest detail.
The costumes that must have been dusted off from the attic are symbolic of the characters themselves; pairing resistant polyester in those unpleasant colours would have been extremely trying.