The cast of “Fail Better: Beckett Moves UMO,” performs the show on a giant see-saw and aerial ropes (Courtesy Photo).

The cast of “Fail Better: Beckett Moves UMO,” performs the show on a giant see-saw and aerial ropes (Courtesy Photo).

Samuel Beckett inspires UMO to “Fail Better”

The show is being revived for two nights as a fundraiser for the venerable island theater company.

Vashon’s acclaimed UMO Ensemble will present the return of “Fail Better: Beckett Moves UMO,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Open Space for Arts & Community, and 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8, at McIntyre Hall Performing Arts Center, 2501 East College Way, in Mount Vernon.

The show — which garnered rave reviews and sold-out houses during its runs at the Samuel Beckett Festival and ACT Theatre, the 2015 New York Fringe Festival, and the 2016 Fury Factory Festival in San Francisco — is the theater company’s love letter to the playwright Samuel Beckett. It is being re-staged as a benefit to support UMO’s new works, with admission by donation.

The Seattle Times called the show “a mesmerizing production … a visual delight and an intellectual teaser,” while the New York Times described how “the muscled cast performs it while straddling a giant seesaw and clinging to a rope strung from two pulleys overhanging concrete pavement.”

In UMO’s inimitable brand of physical theater, “Fail Better” is structured around five archetypal Beckett characters who act out the recurring themes of humor, metaphor and absurdity found throughout the writer’s oeuvre.

The company for “Fail Better” includes guest artists Terry Crane, a renowned rope artist, and Jimmy Garver, a sound designer. Jon Schroeder, master set builder, designed the giant teeter-totter that is the set’s centerpiece. UMO Ensemble members Janet McAlpin, David Godsey, Maria Glanz and Lyam White perform the show, and it is directed by Elizabeth Klob.

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