Monday, March 10, 2008
Hello Failure is focused on the rich, excellent, substantive lives of seven submariner's wives who come together to discuss their feelings of isolation. However, Kristen Kosmas presents her material with overlapping text, fragments of thoughts, and gasps of self-confession that abruptly surface (and just as abruptly submerge), and the end result is often hard to grasp. The play is fixated more on the nuances of the conversation than what's actually behind the line ("sub"-text), and this self-inflicted meta-realism seems to be, like the characters, compensating for an absence of purpose. The actors are exceptional, especially given the untraditional deliveries and abrupt changes in scene (or mood), and special credit to Matthew Maher, who grounds Kosmas (and her play), despite seeming to be a figment of Rebecca's imagination. Kosmas uses many such devices, but this is the only one that forces the characters to confront their issues, the only one that isn't hiding failure behind cleverness.