As Richard Watts, Jr. briefly outlines: "…begins on an elevator, where the operator is about to lose his job through automation and is appealing to his passenger, who happens to own the apartment house where he is employed. It then turns to his memories, which are chiefly preoccupied with his mother, his wife, the women he is living with after the marital split-up and his mute daughter, until he starts thinking of the two priests who are important to him. Father Uxbridge is actually the less important of the pair, a somewhat casual cleric who believes the celibacy of the clergy will soon be a thing of the past. But Father Ongar is a much more dynamic figure. He is really a sardonic, darkly Satanic type, who sees no mercy nor love-kindness in God, no goodness in mankind. It is he, with his savage bitterness, who has the important influence over the mind and soul of the troubled, simple-minded elevator operator." And it is an influence that, unhappily, fails to provide the solace and guidance so needed to achieve purposeful understanding of this world and resigned acceptance of the next. So the "little man" is crucified in the name of the modern humanity—defiant in the face of forces he cannot comprehend, but powerless to avert their pernicious control of his destiny.
Produced by the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Foundation and then presented by New York's American Place Theatre, this powerful and timely play illuminates many of the ills of modern society through its perceptive examination of a good but simple man caught helplessly in its toils. "Gagliano is clearly skilled, disciplined, and inventive as a playwright…" —Village Voice. "…an ambitious playwright who doesn't hesitate to tackle difficult and interesting subjects." —NY Post.