Open Forum

Failure: A Love Story

  • 1.  Failure: A Love Story

    Posted 01-08-2019 15:13
    Hello Everyone! I am wondering if anyone has directed Failure: A Love Story by Philip Dawkins. I am looking for any staging ideas, prop lists, pictures, or just good old plain inspiration! I am going to direct this in the spring and would love to hear from anyone who has done the show.

    Thank you!


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    Anne Elisa Brown
    Director of the MHS Drama Department
    Madison Central School District
    Madison SD
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  • 2.  RE: Failure: A Love Story

    Posted 01-09-2019 16:13
    I directed it last year.  I LOVE this play.  It's so beautifully written.  We had a large ensemble and a small combo band. The stage was divided into areas: the band, the clock shop, the parlor.  The ensemble was onstage the entire time and would sit and watch/comment on the other scenes.  As we would move into a new scene, the pieces on stage (with the exception of the band), would shift to centerstage, moving lyrically like the cogs in a clock.  I also had clocks all over the stage, somewhat evoking a limbo/someplace in time.  I hope you enjoy working on this piece.  It's a great piece of theatre.

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    Michael Klimzak
    Drama Club Advisor
    Salem WI
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  • 3.  RE: Failure: A Love Story

    Posted 01-10-2019 11:22
    Thank you for responding! I have a similar idea to put a small student jazz ensemble o stage and have the action happen around them. I also plan to have large clocks all around the stage. I was wondering how you did the scene with Jenny June swimming in the river. Did you have a boat for Mortimer Mortimer and Gerty to sit in? How did you give the perception of the water?

    Thank you!

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    Anne Elisa Brown
    Director of the MHS Drama Department
    Madison Central School District
    Madison SD
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  • 4.  RE: Failure: A Love Story

    Posted 01-20-2019 13:30
    We also produced Failure: A Love Story last year and had a great experience exploring the beautiful storytelling of this script!
    In honoring the Greek stylization, we built three periaktoi to set the various scene locations (clockshop, upstairs Fail home, and city); the Chorus was also assigned to various characters throughout the script. When not part of the story's plot, they were arranged on crates to the side watching in on and narrating the action with their assigned Chorus lines and would also move the set pieces as needed.
    Chorus members also operated puppets for the parakeets and Moses. We had a large table on wheels that was used as the workshop table in the clock shop, the scene with John and his dog, and became the boat. The river was created with members of the Chorus holding four sheets of blue fabrics at various levels that Jenny June "swam" between - the same was used for Mortimer at the end of the play.
    I hope some of these ideas might help with your production planning! Let me know if you would be interested in seeing photos of any of these elements.
    - Teresa

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    Teresa McGrath
    Theatre Director and Fine Arts Department Chair
    SJCS - Greenville SC
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