Failure:  A Love Story by Philip Dawkins

Purdue University Theatre, 2014

 

A Schrader Series Workshop Production with Costume Design by Amy Cole, Scenic Desgin by Kaitlin Hannah, Lighting Desgin by Jenny Rider, Sound Design by Tyler Rogers, all Purdue undergraduate Theatre Design and Production students. Performing ensemble of 14 students.

 

Set primarily in 1928, FAILURE: A Love Story is about abundant, everlasting success. Mortimer Mortimer, a young, self-made businessman first encounters the extraordinary Fail sisters in their family's clock shop. Time passes and Mortimer falls for each sister in turn as an unusual series of tragic losses ensues. Mortimer and the lone Fail brother, John N., must discover how to survive.

 

While failures abound in FAILURE—no one attains a life goal or reaches a milestone—playwright Philip Dawkins delights in making us question our perception of success by setting up one narrative expectation after another and not fulfilling but transcending every single one. And at the end, without even realizing it, without anyone ever getting married or being the first person to do anything or becoming a star, a strong, loving, new family has been formed from immigrants, strays and travelers in the new world of America. And that is the greatest success of all.

Crossing the Atlantic
Crossing the Atlantic

Henry and Marietta Fail begin their journey to America.

The Eastland Breaks Free
The Eastland Breaks Free

"The riverboat Eastland breaks its moorings and prepares to capsize into the Chicago River. Meanwhile, an amateur canoe race amateurly canoes by and Henry and Marietta Fail drive along South Water Street."

Not a River Snake At All
Not a River Snake At All

"...but a baby ball python! Non-poisonous but deadly..."

"New Fangled Wrist Chronometer"
"New Fangled Wrist Chronometer"

Mortimer meets Nelly Fail

The Australian Crawl
The Australian Crawl

Jenny June Fail practices her stroke in the living room...

John N. Fail Helps Out a Friend
John N. Fail Helps Out a Friend

John N.'s dear friend the dog is dying and John N., as a veterinarian, has a tough job to do...

An Okey Doke Swim Coach
An Okey Doke Swim Coach

Mortimer begins coaching Jenny June for her planned record setting lake swim.

The Radio Interview
The Radio Interview

Renowned sports journalist Grantland Rice interviews Jenny June Fail on the radio about her impending swim.

Tick tick tick!
Tick tick tick!

The night before the fateful swim...

The Swim
The Swim
Consumption
Consumption

Gerty Fail battles consumption as her sisters' ghosts look on.

Dance Party!
Dance Party!

"John N. fail dreamed that DeSota town car came floating down the Chicago River carrying everyone he'd ever loved...the next morning, John N did not wake up from his dream."

"Mortimer Mortimer Waded...
"Mortimer Mortimer Waded...

into the river without rolling up his pajama bottoms..."

"The River was so cold
"The River was so cold

that it felt like the water was tattooing itself on his ankles."

A Flock of Feral Monk Parakeets
A Flock of Feral Monk Parakeets