North Coast Repertory Theatre in San Diego presents TRYING 

A wonderful two-actor piece based on true events

Trying Emily Goss & James Sutorius - photo by Aaron Rumley
It is always a thrill to see good theatre. It is hard now to remember how it feels to be inside a venue with an audience and enjoy the artform. It is also getting hard to see theatre online after all this screen fatigue. 

Trying was not just a thrill to watch, it was greatly appreciated. During these times where the majority of topics are about vaccines, colors, and statistics, it is nice to go back to when computers, social media, and influencers were not a thing.

Based on playwright Joanna McClelland Glass´s experience in the late sixties as an assistant to famed Attorney General and Chief Judge at the Nuremberg trials Francis Biddle, and during his last year of life. 

As always with productions at North Coast, Marty Burnett delivers a detailed and impeccable set design. Recreating Judge Biddle´s office comprised by two desks, awards, frames, and pictures taking us through his hefty career. There is also a resting space with a small bed where Biddle can take naps during the work shift. And, as the year progresses, these shifts are becoming shorter and shorter. 

Trying - James Sutorius as Judge Biddle - photo by Aaron Rumley

James Sutorius is Francis Biddle and Emily Goss is Sarah Schorr. Their interaction during the two hour (and change) play is well balanced and fresh. Through Sutorious´s mighty portrayal, we understand the incisiveness in Biddle´s personality. Exchanging Cummings poetry references with Sarah, how to properly use infinitives and, my personal favorite, Shakespeare, particularly  King John to which Francis Biddle expresses "They only teach the crowd-pleasers". This leaves the audience captivated.

Of course, being 1967, we do have to endure the old-school galore ways and how women were treated and often dismissed. Emily Goss as Sarah Schorr who is also a newlywed is endearing. A well-written story that shined a light on the bond that they created during that year of work and the judge's last as he decayed and could not keep up. Sarah takes more and more responsibilities not being fully aware that she was also winning him over.

No spoilers will be revealed but there are a number of very tender moments that really round out this play viewing experience. Director David Ellenstein maintains a balanced rhythm with the two actors moving throughout the small space. 

Trying Emily Goss - photo by Aaron Rumley

Making theatre has always been a titanic effort that comes through because of love. Continuing to make theatre after a year of a worldwide pandemic, oy. This needs to be praised over and over.

Special mention to Cinematographer/Editor Aaron Rumley, Eliza Benzoni Costume Designer, and Phillip Korth COVID-19 Compliance Officer/Props.

This is a wonderful play to watch with family or a parent. Available to stream until Sunday, April 18, tickets for Trying range between $35 - $54 and can be purchased at

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