Serving as both prequel and sequel to the events in Accidental Nostalgia and Must Don’t Whip ‘Um, The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success) is the heroic saga of Ruom Yes Noremac’s secret mission to save the world. During the course of her lonely journey through space, Ruom Yes Noremac realizes that only by failing to save the Earth can she succeed in saving The Universe. This inter-galactic, epic folk tale from the far distant future is told through a hybrid of thought-provoking text, heart-wrenching songs, and handcrafted videoscapes. Juxtaposed against this outlandish science fiction tale is the second act of the piece, which zooms in from the universal to the personal to examine the gritty autobiographical details that spawned the entire accidental trilogy (Accidental Nostalgia, Must Don’t Whip ‘Um, and The Success of Failure), unveiling an intimate portrait of trauma and recovery.
Performed by Cynthia Hopkins, with Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg
Set, Video, and Production Design Jim Findlay and Jeff Sugg
Premiered January 2009
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
“Star-trekking and soul-baring are juxtaposed with bizarre, oddly beguiling bravado”
– Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success) was produced by Accinosco in association with Joel Bassin, with commissioning support from the Carolina Performing Arts at UNC, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Walker Art Center (through funds provided by the McGuire Commissioning Fund), and the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University. The Success of Failure was also supported by funding from the APAP Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program (a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Initiative), The Jerome Foundation, and the MAP Fund; as well as donations from individuals including Peg Andre, Leslee Bassin, Ann Courtney, Brad & Tymberly Harris, Molly Hickok, John Hodgman, John Hopkins, Diana Lu, George MacNaughton, Diane Madden, Brian Newman, Peter Pfaelzer, Mike & Neal Stark, Bert & Lynne Strieb, Diana Sworakowski, Chris Talbott, and Vivek Tiwary; and residencies provided by the Carolina Performing Arts at UNC, the Hunter College Department of Theatre (with the support of Associate Producer Joel Bassin), the MacDowell Colony, MASS MoCA, New Dance Alliance, the Orchard Project, the Silo Project, the Walker Art Center, and the White Oak Dance Project.