“100 Saints You Should Know,” written by Kate Fodor and directed by Mickey Lay, opens at Le Chat Noir Friday, December 13.
The play deals with five characters who are struggling over religious faith, which seems to be an appropriate choice subject matter for this time of year, albeit coincidental, said Mickey Lay, the play’s director.
“I didn’t pick the placement of the show, but I do think it fits very well given the religious tone of the season around Christmastime,” explained Lay. “Especially having to do with the fact that the show is — to me, it’s about how people from different walks of life handle a crisis of faith. You know, you have Matthew (Jonathan Cook), the priest, Theresa (Dana Cheshire), the atheist… who go through this crisis and go through multiple points of their life where there is a real build-up of things that are not going well for them — and for many of the characters, it forces them to question their belief system and question how they look at the world and how they look at their lives. And I think that is very appropriate given the religious tone of the season.”
Theresa is an atheist who works as a cleaning lady at Father Mathew’s church.
“I think Theresa is sort of having a crisis of non-faith,” Cheshire said. “Through meeting or knowing of [Father] Matthew, she’s starting to think that maybe she hasn’t always had all the answers. Which is something she’s always assumed — that she’s had all the answers. But she looks back on her life now that she’s gotten older and she realizes there’s a chance she could have been wrong.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum there is Father Matthew, who is starting to question his faith and, as a result, takes a break from the priesthood and goes home to stay with his mother while he figures it out.
“Matthew is a priest and he’s sort of reached a point in his life where he feels like there’s more to explore in the world than what he can being a priest,” Cook said. “One of the main things is human intimacy. It’s revealed that he’s been an introvert pretty much his whole life and he got into the priesthood really early in life, so he’s always had a tough time with human interaction.”
The two characters end up meeting in the middle and have a discussion about their beliefs.
“I visualize it as a bridge,” Cheshire explained. “He’s on one end and she’s on the other and they’re starting to cross in different directions. He’s starting to lose faith, she’s starting to gain faith and they meet in the middle and talk.”
There are other characters and elements in the play the actors feel that the audience will relate to. Theresa has an outspoken teenage daughter, Abby, who challenges her throughout the story, and Father Matthew has his own struggles with his mother, Coleen. The story is as much about parents and children as it is about questioning and exploring one’s beliefs and being open to the beliefs of others.
“100 Saints You Should Know”
Le Chat Noir
December 13, 14, 19, 20, 21
7 p.m. (doors open)