UP Theater Company produces Anna Theresa Cascio’s introspective play St. Peter’s Foot. Directed by Molly Fowler, this play shows how conflict can challenge and deepen a relationship, and how wishing for more can shape an experience.
Mike (Doc Dougherty) and Roma (Laura Fois) are a happily married, childless couple living in lower Manhattan. They deal with the drudging everyday life of retirement and slow customer service until they find a baby on their doorstep. The baby’s presence causes the couple to reflect on their decision not to have children and results in tension when they decide to care for the child. While the story demonstrates how music can connect two people, it really highlights how the presence of a child can shrink the nonsense of life.
Doc Dougherty plays the emotional Mike with an air of fun, and he makes Mike’s arc – learning to open the door – both comical and poignant. Laura Fois is the responsible, artistic Roma, and she is so grounded her every movement comes from the earth. She creates Roma’s honesty with such sincerity that I am always rooting for Roma. The actors are seasoned and they seem to revel in their craft, which always makes the hard moments of a performance more bearable to watch. They bring truth to the characters and honesty that only lifetime lovers can share.
While the first scene is full of exposition that yields little else, and the transitions between scenes are far too long, Anna Theresa Cascio’s play asks some big questions about how where we’re at in life can affect decisions with long term effects – like having a child, or not having a child. The baby’s presence allows Mike and Roma to confront deep personal decisions they made and experiences they had before they met each other. The beautiful thing about this is that it yields honesty and closure to serve the depth of Mike and Roma’s relationship.
The Fort Washington Collegiate Church is a beautiful space and scenic designer, Duane Pagano, turned the stage into a believable small industrial-retro style apartment. The emphasis is on industrial and childless: the space yields no excess until the baby becomes part of the story. Diana Duecker’s lighting design subtly fits the mood of every scene with warm and cool colors and Christopher Klaich’s costumes don’t give Mike or Roma a pop of color until they have become new people in the end.
St. Peter’s Foot, UP Theater Company, Fort Washington Collegiate Church, 729 W 181st St, New York, NY 10033. Closes April 6th.