Such a ‘Bler: Failure: A Love Story by Alumni Philip Dawkins

Such a ‘Bler: Failure: A Love Story by Alumni Philip Dawkins

At the beginning of this semester, my design professor Rachel Healy recommended that I applied for a design position on Failure: A Love Story – a play written by Loyola University Chicago’s alumni, Philip Dawkins. She then recommended that I auditioned for the play. I did audition, and being not much of an actress, did not get casted (it’s okay I saw it coming, but HEY AT LEAST I CAN SAY THAT I FINALLY AUDITIONED FOR SOMETHING!) and had too much on my plate this semester to join the design team.

The reason Rachel was so excited to get me involved was because the show featured music, beautiful costumes and PUPPETS! Context: Rachel was my Storytelling Design via Puppetry Spring Semester of freshman year. Rachel then became my theatre mentor and well, she knew I couldn’t resist a production with both music and puppets. Leading up to opening night, images from the show popped up all over Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts’ socials and I regretted more and more about not being able to contribute to the production. This especially kicked in the night I was going to see the show.

Before the performance, I and other theatre students got the chance to chat with him. He actually got inspiration for this plot from a night at a cemetery with a group of friends. They found a bunch of tomb stones all having the last name “Fail” and became both curious and convinced that he needed to write a play about them. What had happened to the Fail family? Hearing this really showed me that inspiration can come from really anywhere, at any time! 


Sitting down to watch the play, I tried to not keep too much of this information in mind, but I guess in a way it made me understand the theme of the piece more – as well as made me wayyy more emotional. I was simultaneously giggling because I’d actually never seen the use of puppets before. The huge snake that my classmate from Design II made was controlled by two actors at one point. They danced and swerved the puppet up and down in order to mimic the slithering motion of the creature – it was incredible. Other puppets included birds equipped with quirky voices and a wonderful beagle that seemed so real resting on the arm of one of the actors though its voice was presented by another actor standing next to them. I came away feeling equally unsettled, warm and inspired. Such an intimate theme played peekaboo through rather whimsical storytelling devices, making it easier to take in.

Though already having an idea in mind, I am now currently drafting a project of my own for Loyola’s second stage laboratory at full speed. Hopefully you will see it during my senior year. I guess this entire experience empowered me to push my involvement in the Loyola theatre community even more.

Such talent walk and have walked these walls. It is amazing to be among them.





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