Running time: 70 minutes

Beckett grapples with the existential questions of life, love, action and inaction, and simple tasks, fulfilled or unfulfilled, with intensely deep ponderings and enormous humor. UMO will tackle seven physical conundrums based on these themes: balancing on a giant teeter totter, juggling tin cans, and suspending on ropes from two giant pullies. The expertise of world-renowned rope artist Terry Crane and sound designer Jimmy Garver will come together to create the world for our Beckett exploration. Ensemble members Janet McAlpin, David Godsey, Maria Glanz, and Lyam White will perform. Elizabeth Klob, executive artist of UMO will direct. UMO will bring a rich history of clowning, storytelling, and breathtaking physical skill to explore these conundrums inspired by the prose of Samuel Beckett. Program contains adult themes and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nudity.

Age recommendation: 12 and older for adult themes and brief nudity. 

Support provided by 4Culture

Photo Credit: Michelle Bates

Umo logo 2In the past seventeen years, UMO Ensemble has become known as one of the most innovative, compelling, and critically acclaimed performance companies based in the Pacific Northwest. The Ensemble has performed in theaters, at festivals, and in schools throughout the Northwest, the United States, Canada, and Europe.

UMO began their creative collaboration in 1987. The company is committed to an Ensemble of performers who create and compose their own productions. The Ensemble's creative process is rooted in physical theatre. Improvisations in movement, character, vocalizing, and writing are the basis for the creation and development of new works. For each piece there is a member of the Ensemble who serves as artistic director, holding the larger picture in mind. Since their arrival on Vashon Island in 1989, UMO Ensemble has created over twenty original works for the theatre.

Creative Team
Elizabeth Klob Artistic Visionary and Director 
Maria Glanz, Lyam White  Dramaturg/Writing team 
Cast and Collaborators
Terry Crane, Maria Glanz, David Godsey, Janet McAlpin, Lyam White  
Designers and Crew  
Aimée Nicole Lewis van Roekel
Assistant Director
James Bigbee Garver  Composer/Sound Designer
Elizabeth Klob  Costume Designer
Chris Frickland  Lighting Designer, Technical Director
Jon Schroeder  Set Design and Construction
Randy Kirk  Balance Fabrication and Design
Nina Trotto  Stage Manager
Terry Crane  Rope Pulley Creator
Michael Cornforth   CHL Technician and Light Board Operator

failbetter_terry_craneTerry Crane (Cast) is a professional acrobat and circus artist, who has performed across the globe, but is originally from Snoqualmie, WA. He was trained at the National Circus School of Montreal. He is the artistic director of the local contemporary circus company, Acrobatic Conundrum, and the inventor of the neverending rope apparatus featured in this production. His first experience with UMO was watching them perform Grimm's in 1999 and he is delighted to collaborate with the ensemble for the first time in Fail Better.




Maria Glanz (Cast) is an award-winning actor, solo performer, writer, producer, and teacher. She received an Artist Trust Fellowship in Theatre in 2002 and the Richard Hugo House Best Play Award the same year. Her solo works See Me Naked and Pu'uhonua (place of refuge) garnered honors including Best of Fest in Edmonton and Winnipeg Fringe festivals, two Artistic Pick awards in the Seattle Fringe Festival, Top Ten List at the Montreal Fringe Festival, and more. Maria recently received a Gregory Award nomination for her role as Emily Dickinson in Sound Theatre Company's production of Belle of Amherst. She wrote the script for UMO's Rapunzel, currently works at Open Space for Arts & Community, and is pleased as punch to be on stage with her favorite people in the world.

failbetter_david_godseyDavid Godsey (Cast) is a graduate of the Professional Training Program at the Circle in the Square in New York and the Laboratory of Movement Studies at Ecole LeCoq in Paris. Since UMO's co-founding in 1987, the Ensemble has been the primary focus and outlet for his performance work. Most recently David was lead artist for UMO's Final Broadcast. He also directed the creation of UMO's Millennium Circus. David works with his partner Janet to create and perform original character clown pieces. David is currently a co-producer at Open Space for Arts and Community on Vashon.



failbetter_janet_mcalpinJanet McAlpin (Cast) trained for two years at the School of Jacques LeCoq (Paris, France), co-founded UMO Ensemble (1987) and has been teaching, directing and performing physical theater for over 25 years. She has created and co-directed UMO in El Dorado, Body Inheritance, Fatal Peril, and Red Tiger Tales. She enjoys creating aerial acts and clown acts with David Godsey. Janet lives and dreams her creative vision into Open Space for Arts and Community on Vashon. She is grateful to be in such good company while beginning the journey of "Fail(ing) Better".



failbetter_lyam_whiteLyam White (Cast) first worked with UMO in Fatal Peril; since then, he has performed in El Dorado and been a writer and performer in Final Broadcast, Red Tiger Tales, and Maldoror. Other favorite roles have included Mark Antony in Antony & Cleopatra (Greenstage), the Marquis de Sade in Marat-Sade (Balagan), Edmond in David Mamet's Edmond (Open Circle), and Bill in The Swan (Atlas Theatre). A longtime admirer of Beckett's work, he is delighted to participate in the Seattle Beckett Festival, and to aid and abet UMO in this latest offering.



failbetter_elizabeth_klobElizabeth Klob (Artistic Visionary and Director, Costume Designer) has been toiling, playing, and reinventing herself in the theatrical world for 25 years. After graduating from SUNY Purchase with a B.F.A. in acting she worked away at a theatrical career in NYC until she escaped to Seattle in 1992. She is the current executive artist for the UMO Ensemble. She directs, designs, and performs; her most notable directorial works include Pu'uhonua and See Me Naked with Maria Glanz; Rapunzel, Fatal Peril, and Red Tiger Tales with UMO. Rubble Women in 2009 marked her most recent step back on stage. She also created an art installation that caused quite a stir on Vashon Island last year called The Eve Project... Elizabeth owns and designs for Cicada Bridal in Seattle.

failbetter_james_bigbeegarverJames Bigbee Garver (Composer/Sound Designer) creates sonic inventions, soundscapes and music for live performance, interactive media, and film. His music and sound designs have been heard at numerous New York City venues including Lincoln Center, The 92nd St. Y, Joyce SoHo, The Atlantic Theatre Company, Japan Society, Performance Space 122, The World Financial Center, and on Long Island at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center. He's currently based in Washington, DC where his work has been heard at Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, The Studio Theatre, Georgetown University, Rorschach Theatre, Synetic Theatre, WordDance, and CityDance Ensemble. He spent 2002 on tour with Cirque du Soleil, portraying The Baron in Saltimbanco. He holds an M.F.A. from the University of Washington.

Chris Frickland (Lighting Designer, Technical Director, ) is thrilled to be making a return to ACT's Central Heating Lab for the Seattle Beckett Festival in collaboration with UMO. He recently worked with Gay City Health Project to design and open their Calamus Auditorium, Maria Glanz for See Me Naked, Seattle Musical Theatre (Altar Boyz), UMO (Red Tiger Tales, Maldoror), Bellevue College (The Foreigner, Kennedy Center Award for Excellence in Lighting Design), Book-it Repertory Theatre, The Moore, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Dance Premier, and Threesixty Entertainment's international tour of Peter Pan. He has also worked with the artists Lilienthal|Zamora on Underbelly, Apex, Coachella 2013, and Through Hollow Lands.

Jon Schroeder (Balance Fabrication and Design) works out of a big little space called Vashon. His company, ROCKBOX, builds scenery and props for any application. Despite his best attempts, he has been building creatively in the entertainment industry for 25 years. It's not bad once you get used to it again. And again.

failbetter_aimee_vanRoekelAimée Nicole Lewis van Roekel (Assistant Director) Currently she is currently Artistic Director and Head Teacher at Vashon Island Shakespeare Festival. In NYC, she co-founded Noleverage Productions; she directed The Bacchae at Quixotic Players in Morago, CA; and Assistant Directed Book of Days under Artistic Director Robert Kelley at Theatreworks. She received an M.F.A. from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and her B.F.A. from The Conservatory Theatre at Webster University. She studied with SITI in NYC, directing with Tina Landau, Marita Woodruf, and others. As a writer she adapted The Bacchae, produced by Quixotic Players in the Morago, CA. She is beyond grateful to be working with the famed UMO on Fail Better with this incredible cast and crew.

Nina Trotto (Stage Manager) With Seattle Children’s Theatre: The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi, Pinocchio, and Danny, King of the Basement (Production Assistant). With Seattle Shakespeare Company: King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Winter’s Tale (Production Assistant). With Book-It Repertory Theatre: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Prairie Nocturne (Assistant Stage Manager). With Seattle Public Theatre: Broke-ology (Stage Manager) and This Wide Night (Assistant Stage Manager). Most recently, she spent her summer as the Assistant Production Manager for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.