UP TO THE SKY
nytheatre.com review by Jeffrey Lewonczyk
Antonio Sacre’s mom has terrible feet. This is the first
revelation of Up to the Sky, his one-man show about her.
And though not much more is said about her feet per se, the next
hour is an inventory of all her other quirks, including: her
relentless chain-smoking; her constant purse-rummaging; her
mouth (which would shame a sailor); and her boundless love for
her three sons, whom she raised on her own.
August 15, 2002
Sacre is a fine mimic. A recording of his mother reciting poetry in her classic Boston twang attests to this. Whenever he jumps into the skin of another character, the air in the room changes, and for a split second you wonder where Sacre went. His transitions out of character aren’t as smooth: he tries hard to be open and endearing, but his "neutral" persona is so pointedly good-natured that he positively twinkles. I wondered if he (or rather, his persona) was trying to sell me something, or had something to hide. I was mildly surprised when that didn’t turn out to be the case.
In fact, there’s very little drama or suspense in the piece. When Sacre begins imitating his mother’s laugh, which unfailingly degenerates into a bitter, hacking cough, one suspects that the rest of the play will be about her affliction with lung cancer, or something equally heart-rending. But Mrs. Sacre is alive and well, and remains a tireless supporter of her sons’ endeavors. (A hysterical reenactment of her behavior at Antonio’s first Fringe debut brings this point home.) Other than the economic and emotional difficulties of living in a fatherless household—difficulties that are in no way harped upon or exploited for sentiment—life wasn’t too terrible for the Sacres. Eventually, I decided that the lack of turmoil might just be the point of the show. Up to the Sky is simply a tender, affectionate portrait of a woman very dear to the artist, whose love for her proves to be infectious. And who can argue with a little more love in the world?