Podcast with Phillip Dawkins & Seth Bockley from Michael Roberts on Vimeo.

Playwright Phillip Dawkins & Director Seth Bockley discuss their new play Failure: A Love Story which is having its World Premiere at  Victory Gardens

Victory Gardens continues its 2012-13 season with the World Premiere of Failure: A Love Story, written by VG Ensemble Playwright Philip Dawkins and directed by Seth Bockley.The production runs November 16 – December 30, 2012 in the Richard Christiansen Theater at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park.

1928 was the last year of each of the Fail Sisters’ lives. Nelly was the first to die, followed soon after by sisters, Jenny June and Gerty. As with many unforeseen circumstances in life—blunt objects, disappearances and consumption—they never saw death coming. Written by Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins, Failure: A Love Story is a magical, musical fable about the triumphs and aspirations of three sisters living in the rickety two-story building by the Chicago River which was the Fail family home and clock shop. This profoundly funny and moving holiday offering reminds us that in the end, all that remains is love.

“I’m extremely proud to present the world premiere of Failure: A Love Story by our new ensemble playwright Philip Dawkins,” says Victory Gardens Artistic Director Chay Yew. “With exuberant wit and sumptuous theatricality, Philip has written a wise, whimsical fable about finding success in what others deem as failure, living outside society’s margins, and embracing life’s unpredictable journey and pursuing what you love. I’m also proud to have one of the most innovative and fearless off-Loop directors, Seth Bockley, a Victory Gardens Associate, direct this production. A valentine to our great city of Chicago, I can’t think of a more perfect play for the holidays.”

This World Premiere production will feature popular songs from the time period as well as original compositions by Philip Dawkins.  The cast will accompany themselves on a variety of instruments including piano, oboe, accordion, and percussion. Elements of puppetry and object theater will also be woven into the show.

The cast of Failure: A Love Story includes Baize Buzan (Nelly Fail), Emjoy Gavino (Jenny June Fail), Mildred Marie Langford (Gertrude Fail), Michael Salinas (John N. Fail), Matt Fletcher(Mortimer Mortimer), Guy Massey (The Chorus), and Janet Ulrich Brooks (The Chorus).

The designers are Scott Davis (Set Designer), Mac Vaughey (Lighting Designer), Emily Tarleton(Costume Designer) and Charles Kim (Sound Designer). Will Bishop is the Assistant Director,Helen Lattyak is the Stage Manager.

About the Artists

Philip Dawkins’ (Playwright) critically-acclaimed play The Homosexuals received a Joseph Jefferson Nomination for New Work after its world premiere with About Face Theatre in the summer of 2011, under the direction of Bonnie Metzgar.  Further productions are planned for the 2012/13 seasons of The Ringwald Theater in Detroit and ManBites Dog Theater in North Carolina.  After premiering at Victory Gardens, Failure: A Love Story will be performed in Philadelphia at Azuka Theatre in summer 2013.  His new play, Stutter, was commissioned by the Goodman Theater and will receive a staged reading in December 2012.  Last fall, his play Miss Marx or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living received a staged reading as part of Steppenwolf’s First Look Series.  Other credits include Dead Letter Office (Dog and Pony Theatre); Yes to Everything! (Chicago, NY,CA, DC); Perfect (The Side Project); Ugly Baby (Chicago Opera Vanguard/Strawdog Theatre Company);A Still Life in Color (T.U.T.A. Company); and Saguaro

(Estrogen Fest; Estrogenius Festival, NY; 16th Street Theatre, Berwyn; Painted Filly, Ireland.).  His plays for young folks have been performed all over the world and are published through Playscripts, Inc.  A graduate of Loyola University, Chicago, Philip is an Artistic Associate of About Face Theatre, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, and a founding member, with artistic partner Eric C. Reda, of Chicago Opera Vanguard.  Philip teaches playwriting at Northwestern University and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program for writers with disabilities.

Seth Bockley (Director) is a Chicago-based director, playwright and performer. His directing credits include The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg (Sideshow Theater); Civilization (all you can eat) by Jason Grote (Clubbed Thumb, NYC); 1001 by Jason Grote; Jon, winner of the 2008 Jeff Citation for Best New Adaptation (Collaboraction); Winter Pageant 2010, Laika’s Coffin (Redmoon); and Guerra: A Clown Play (created with Mexico City’s La Piara). Writing credits include Elephant and the Whale(April 2013, Redmoon at Chicago Childrens’ Theatre); February House (with lyricist/composer Gabriel Kahane – Public Theater, NYC); Ask Aunt Susan (Goodman’s New Stages Amplified series in November 2011);The Twins Would Like To Say (Dog & Pony); Laika’s Coffin, and Boneyard Prayer (Redmoon). He has also penned adaptations of Jon and CommComm (from short stories by George Saunders). Bockley was a recipient of Theater Communications Group’s New Generations Grant, and is currently a playwright in residence at the Goodman Theater.

Baize Buzan (Nelly Fail) is performing at Victory Gardens for the first time with Failure: A Love Story. Chicago credits include Cripple of Inishmaan (Redtwist), The Sea (Theatre Mir), Walk Two Moons (Adventure Stage), Far Away (winterfall chicago), The Chicago Landmark Project (Theatre Seven) and Woyzeck (Oracle.) TV credits include Chicago Fire. Baize is a graduate of Vassar College and The School at Steppenwolf, and has also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School.

Emjoy Gavino (Jenny June Fail) has been seen in Seascape (Remy Bumppo), Wait Until Dark(Court Theatre), Working (Broadway Playhouse), Arabian Nights (Lookingglass Theatre), Next Stop(Route 66), Hair (Paramount Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Wilson Wants it All(House Theatre), Cooperstown (Theatre Seven), A Very Neo-Futurist Christmas Carol (Neofuturists) and That’s Weird Grandma (Ba

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rrel of Monkeys). Regional credits include The Violet Hour, Into the Woods and the world premiere of The Joy Luck Club (Repertory Actor’s Theatre), Miss Saigon (5th Avenue Theatre/Bass Hall), Searching 4 Y (Village Theatre), Sadako (Book-it Repertory) and A Christmas Carol (ACT Theatre).

Mildred Marie Langford (Gertrude Fail) is making her Victory Gardens debut in Failure: A Love Story. Other Chicago credits include Freshly Fallen Snow at Chicago Dramatists, where she is a newly named Associate Artist; My Kind of Town and In Darfur at Timeline Theatre, where she serves as a new company member; An Actor Prepares (U of C Logan Center for the Arts); The Ghost is Here (Vitalist Theatre); 13Clocks (Lifeline Theatre); Venus, The Twins Would Like To Sayand The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Sinbad: The Untold Tale, The Ghost of Treasure Island andThe Blue House (Adventure Stage); A Civil War Christmas (Northlight Theatre); Zulu Fits(MPAACT); War With The Newts and The Overwhelming (Next Theatre); and 12 Ophelias (Trap Door Theatre). Mildred is a graduate of George Mason University and The School at Steppenwolf. She also works as a teaching artist in the city and as a mentor for Adventure Stage Chicago’s Mentorship Program.

Michael Salinas (John N. Fail) is making his Victory Gardens debut. As an ensemble member of Steep Theatre his credits include Festen, Under the Blue Sky, Pornography, A Brief History of Helen of TroyThe Hollow Lands, and In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings (Jeff Award-Best Ensemble). Also at Steep, he recently co-produced and performed in an off-night solo piece, The Gog/Magog Project.Other Chicago credits include Night Over Erzinga (Silk Road Rising); Girl You Know It’s True(Pavement Group); Fedra: Queen of Haiti (Lookingglass); Mimesophobia (Theatre Seven); As Told by the Vivian Girls (Dog & Pony); and Hatfield & McCoy (The House). He has also worked with Collaboraction, The Gift, Steppenwolf, and The Goodman. Regional credits include Laura Eason’sThe Vast In-Between (Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO); Spinning Into Butter (Southern Repertory Theatre in New Orleans); and Romeo & Juliet (The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane). Film credits include Freshman Orientation (Sundance Premiere).

Matt Fletcher (Mortimer Mortimer) is making his Victory Gardens debut. Matt serves as Producing Artistic Director with Sideshow Theatre Company, where he was most recently seen in Idomeneusat the DCASE Storefront Theatre; other Sideshow work includes HeddatronStrangerland, Theories of the SunEverything Freezes: another winter’s tale, and Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird). Other performance credits include As Told by the Vivian Girls with Dog and Pony Theatre Company, two seasons with The Lost Colony, as well as a staged reading of Third with Jane Alexander at Hollins University. Matt is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his BA in Drama.

Guy Massey (The Chorus) has performed in plays with The Steppenwolf Theater, The Gift Theater, Shaw Chicago, A Red Orchid Theater, Theater Wit, Rivendell Theater, The Curious Theatre Branch, Theater Oobleck, Eclipse Theater, Greasy Joan & Co., Prop Thtr, Teatro Vista, Next Theater, and Wisdom Bridge, among others.  Most recently, he has worked with The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and here in Chicago, just finished a production of Tigers Be Still with Theater Wit, as well as playing “The Creature” in the Neo-Futurists’ smash up of Pinocchio/Frankenstein.  With Theater Oobleck, he played “George W Bush” in The Strangerer both Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theater in Manhattan and in Chicago at the Chopin Theater.  His earliest film credits include the 1980’s cult classic Three O’Clock High and the latest are At Any PriceThe PromotionStranger Than FictionContagion, and Fred Claus.  Television credits include BossShameless and the Pilot Episodes of The Mob DoctorThe BeastThe Line, and The Chicago Code.

Janet Ulrich Brooks (The Chorus) was last seen at Victory Gardens in Jacob & Jack. She is a TimeLine Company Member and has appeared in more than 10 productions, most recently A Walk in the Woods and All My Sons. Other credits include South of Settling (Steppenwolf Theatre), Ten Chimneys (Northlight Theatre), The Original Grease (American Theater Co.), Pony (About Face Theatre), The Seagull and A True History of the Johnstown Flood (Goodman Theatre). Other Chicago credits include Golda’s Balcony (Pegasus Players, Non-Equity Jeff Award – Outstanding Solo Performance) and work with Strawdog Theatre, Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Writers’ Theatre and Collaboraction. Janet’s film credits include FoolsConvictionPolish BarI Heart Shakey, andOne Small Hitch, and her television credits include BossUnderemployedThe Chicago Code andThe Playboy Club.

Full performance schedule

Previews of Failure: A Love Story are November 16 – November 25, 2012: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. There will be an additional preview on Wednesday, November 21 at 7:30 pm.    Previews are $35-$40.  The Press opening is Monday, November 26 at 7:30 pm. Regular performances run through December 30, 2012: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 4 pm; Sunday at 3 pm.  Regular performances are $35-$50.

There will be additional performances on Wednesday, December 19 at 2:00 pm and Wednesday, December 26 at 7:30 pm

Performances are in the Richard Christiansen Theater at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.  For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000 (TTY: 773.871.0682), email tickets@victorygardens.org, or visit www.victorygardens.org.  Ask the Box Office about student tickets ($15), senior, Access, 20 for $20, and rush discounts.  For group discounts, call 773.328.2136.

A full and updated schedule of special events, post show discussions and presentations centered around performances of Failure: A Love Story is available at www.victorygardens.org.