Writing about UMO Seattle's latest production Fail Better is challenging because it's not a show that can be easily categorized, much less described. Fail Better was presented last month in ACT Theater's Eulalie Scandiuzzi Space, but it cannot be defined as traditional theater. In reality, it was a hybrid intimate artistic experience combining both theater and circus with a focus on the work of Samuel Becket.
For me, the show was elegant and inspiring as well as thought provoking. Using a giant teeter-totter, a huge continuous rope loop hanging from pulleys and a sprinkling of Becket's words, the five UMO performers explored many themes including love, life, death, stillness and balance. The balance aspect of the production was clear enough as the performers spent a great deal of time on the teeter-totter, but much of what happened on stage can only be described as an vibrant experience in a somewhat foreign language that gets audiences to ask questions of the performance and themselves.
That's not to say that the audience was not both moved by and curious about a brilliantly performed and orchestrated show. People left that theater talking about what they had experienced, and that makes UMO's Fail Better an artistic postcard from the edge of reality well worth going to see, hear, feel and experience.
May we all find such experiences that open us up to considering new life possibilities and the balance that makes life worth living.