ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
Failure: A Love Story
at Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview
By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic
“Cool space!” we noted upon our arrival at the Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview. The front lobby has a nice bar, and complementary cookies are provided for patrons during every performance. Tucked away near the library and the Glenview House Restaurant, (where we had a lovely meal served by a young man with fabulous hair who reminded me of Patrick Swayze), this is the only Professional Theatre in Glenview.
I was not acquainted with Failure: A Love Story, which may have detracted from my enjoyment. The script was kind of hard to follow for those of us unfamiliar with the storyline. Having one actress play the three sisters, and their mother, (Kendal Romero) was confusing. Some of the action, especially of the Snake character on the floor, (yes, there are Pet characters. Weird.) was difficult to see. The staging needs to be considered, as the sightlines were tough to overcome for the Short of Stature.
The Fail Family “got rid of their ‘Bottoms”” at Ellis Island when their name was shortened from “Failbotton” to just “Fail.” Owning a clock company, “A ‘Fail Clock’ is a working clock,” provides for the family. (All the clocks on the walls, and the actors mimicking clocks, reminded me of my childhood home because my Mom loved clocks.) When the parents die, the sisters take over the family business downtown.
The cast was very energetic and enthused. I liked the chorus parts played by Jasmine Robertson, Jordan Zelvin, and Philip J. Macaluso. The Chicago storyline was cool, opening with references to the Eastland disaster of 1915 which killed 844 people, including nearly two dozen entire families. The setting was all in Chicago, and the parents perish the day of the worst shipwreck on the Great Lakes. The entire show focuses on loss and death. The Mom loses a baby in 1910 and is never the same. One of the daughters dies accidentally on her wedding day. Another sister tries to swim Lake Michigan from Chicago to Indiana (wouldn’t it be Michigan?) but disappears in the process. (“Have you ever smelled Indiana?” asks one of the characters.)
Failure: A Love Story reminds us how “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” (Thank you, Alfred Lord Tennyson).
Catherine Hellmann teaches teens by day and attends theater by night. She thinks sleeping until noon on Saturday is an accomplishment.