Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

‘Hello Failure’ offers graceful, life-affirming portrait of courage

“Hello Failure,” a comedy written and directed by Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Kristen Kosmas, was performed from Thursday, Mar. 1 through Sunday, Mar. 4 at Harper Joy Theatre.

The show, described as a “sprawling, associative, neo-realistic comedy of beauty,” centers on the story of seven submariners’ wives and the different ways in which they cope with the lack of their absent husbands. While failure and the fear of failing are themes that loom large in the play, it also features ideas of a more optimistic nature.

“I think the play, in both form and content, is ultimately about generosity, kindness, forgiveness and optimism,” said Kosmas. “It is also about commonality, what we have in common with other people even when we might feel alone or impossibly unique.”

Kosmas also commented on her process in writing the play, which was first performed in New York in 2007.

“What’s interesting about failure is the effort that precedes it, the repeated attempt to do something and have it work out,” she said. “I discovered there are all these little acts of heroism, or attempts at heroism, taking place every day, in normal life, and that discovery moved me.”

The play presented a challenge for the actors due to its emphasis on language rather than story.

“The shape of words and the flow of the dialogue take precedent over an actor’s internal work,” said sophomore Sam Halgren. “When this idea of working with language clicked, I felt wonderful.”

“We paid such careful attention to the script––punctuation, line breaks, particular wording––that it felt like an English class sometimes, which I loved,” said junior Henry Nolan.

The experience of performing in the show proved rewarding.

“At the end of this show, after having experienced everything along with all the other characters, I always feel uplifted, like everything will be okay,” said senior Caitlin Goldie.

Audiences responded positively to the play, expressing their appreciation of its compelling and complex themes.

“As I watched the play, I kept thinking how confused I would be if I just read the script, but I felt like watching the performance allowed me to experience a lot of what was going on, even if I didn’t consciously understand it,” said first-year Mary Christensen. “I almost wish I could watch it a second time!”

“The simplicity was very appealing and allowed the audience to focus on the actors and what they were saying,” said first-year Sabra Jaffe.

Overall, “Hello Failure” proved to be a thought-provoking and satisfying experience for cast, crew and audiences alike.

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