Trying depicts the final year in the life of Francis Biddle Weaver, Attorney General under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The work is based on the playwright's own experiences working at Biddle's secretary. In the play, which is set in 1967, Biddle is 81 years old and trying to put his life in order. He is ill and functions, as he puts it, "somewhere between lucidity and senility." When his wife who is never seen in the play hires him a new secretary Brazda, the two must "try" to communicate across significant barriers of age and class.
The production, directed by Sandy Shinner, opened off-Broadway on October 13 after a successful run at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. In his Broadway.com Review of the play, William Stevenson wrote: "Thanks to Glass' engaging writing and Weaver's superb performance, it adds up to a wonderful character study… Weaver, who made his first New York stage appearance 50 years ago, has a long list of credits in theater he won the Tony for Child's Play, film The Thomas Crown Affair and TV Holocaust. In this richly complex role, the actor uses all of his years of experience. It's a beautifully modulated, always compelling performance. While Brazda's role isn't as interesting as Weaver's, she holds her own with him and makes Sarah's gradual transformation from meek underling to indispensable coworker/caregiver believable. Although Biddle is hardly a household name--and neither, for that matter, is Weaver--if there's any justice Trying will be a hit."