Westosha Central senior Daniel Persino plays the role of Mortimer Mortimer, who falls in love with the three Fail sisters, including Gerty (Junior Kaitlyn Shaffer). (Jude Kaider/The Report).

Central presents ‘Failure: A Love Story’ this weekend

By Jason Arndt

Unlike previous productions, where Westosha Central High School drama students presented comedic plays, this weekend’s performance of “Failure: A Love Story” brings a dramatic twist.

Set in 1928 Chicago, the relatively new contemporary production features three sisters who fall in love with the same man and end up dead from various causes.

“It follows the story of the Fail sisters, a clock shop and their family, and by the end of the year, all three sisters will have fallen in love and then pass away,” said school drama director Michael Klimzak.

“That is how the play starts; they tell you right off the bat that they are all going to die.”

In a dramatic twist, the three sisters fall for Mortimer Mortimer (senior Daniel Persino), who shares a mutual attraction.

“It is a weird turn of events,” Klimzak said. “This story is a lot more dramatic compared to the other plays we have done.”

Show dates are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $8 at the door.

Junior Kaitlyn Shaffer, who plays eldest sister Gerty, said the script authored by Bill Dawkins was well written, and even after three months of practice, she still picks up on new twists.

“Come and see the show more than once,” she said. “We have been running the show for more than three months now, and we are still picking up things from the script. It is so well written and I just love the show so much.”

Shaffer best describes her character as the sibling who takes on the role of family leader after the death of her parents.

“Gerty Fail is very tired and very stressed after her parents pass away,” she said.

Along with Shaffer, the two other sisters are Nelly Fail (junior Emily Thomas) and Jenny June (sophomore Kourtney Ellis).

During the play, the Fail sisters add a brother through adoption, played by senior Braden Gere.

Gere’s character, John N. Fail, is a recluse who shows a better connection with animals than humans.

“He is kind of a recluse; he doesn’t interact with people as well as he interacts with animals and nature,” Gere said.

Meanwhile, Gere said each person involved in this production plays a critical role.

The role includes the play’s ensemble.

“The biggest challenge is being able to incorporate everyone equally,” he said. “It is such an ensemble-based play to where the ensemble is equally as important as everyone else. If one person goes down our whole show goes down.”

Shaffer agreed, adding Klimzak told the cast they operate like a clock, complete with working gears and cogs.

“Our director describes the show as working like a clock,” Shaffer said. “A clock needs every single one of its gears to move in order for it to work. If one cog isn’t turning the right way, then the whole thing doesn’t work.”

However, Gere said the cast has worked like a team and adapted well to the dramatic script, considering the students have grown so accustomed to comedies.

“The way we have been adapting to it has been kind of remarkable,” he said. “It is going a lot better than expected.”

If you go…

WHAT: “Failure: A Love Story”

WHERE: Westosha Central High School, 24617 75th St., Salem

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 15.

TICKETS: $8 at the door.


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