OU Division of Theater’s ‘Failure: A Love Story’ to Open Dec. 6

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For its final theater performance of the 2017 fall semester, Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts will be presenting a comedic and whimsical ensemble piece with its production of Failure: A Love Story. The show is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Forum Theater in the RTV building on the OU Athens campus Dec. 6-8 at 8 p.m., and Dec 9. at 7 p.m.

Written in 2012 by Chicago Playwright Philip Dawkins, Failure: A Love Story is a philosophical, comedic tale exploring love and the inevitability of death.

(WOUB/Zane Wilson)

The play begins by addressing the audience with a narration of events to come: namely, that all three Fail sisters will soon be dead. The story follows the life and death of these members of the Fail family, as they live above their family clock repair shop in the ’20s and encounter numerous experiences of love and loss.

With this information the play quickly enters into a realm of theatrical, poetic storytelling, with an ensemble that is heavily driven by music, talking animals, personified clocks, and quirky humor.

“It basically explores different kinds of life and how we chose to live life, and sort of the inevitability of death and how we all deal with loss in a very whimsical, storytelling theater way,” said the production’s director Anne McAlexander.

(WOUB/Zane Wilson)

Though Dawkins laid the foundation for the story, he left directors the artistic freedom to choose the size and characterization of the ensemble, which he describes in the original script as simply “the chorus.”

McAlexander chose to keep the ensemble at a total of 12 actors, one for each character, which includes the three Fail sisters, an adopted brother, two parents, four animals, a gramophone, and a man named Mortimer Mortimer.

Throughout the production, multiple actors will be playing more than one character and the play will be directly addressing the audience.

“The playwright gives you a lot of freedom to make the story come to life as you want it to come to life so the possibility of exploring all different sorts of things with the actors and designers was very exciting to me,” said McAlexander.

(WOUB/Zane Wilson)

Additionally, throughout the piece there will be live music performances and numerous situations for the audience to use their imaginations.

“It’s going to be very fun and entertaining,” said McAlexander.

However, the play certainly has its share of thoughtful and philosophical moments.

(WOUB/Zane Wilson)

“I think this play deals with death in a really beautiful way… this play really gives people a chance to embrace life, accept life, embrace love in all of its different forms, and not be afraid of death,” said Carson Cerney, a third-year MFA actor playing Mortimer Mortimer. “Death is the one thing that unifies us, and for all of us to face one of our fears and to experience the journey together is going to be really special for the audience.”

The play will be performed by BFA and MFA acting students, and has been made possible through funding from Arts for Ohio.