photos by Owen Carey
A Noble Failure
by Susan Mach
January 11, 2013 through February 3, 2013
In this call-to-arms, Mach shares an eye-opening look at the current state of America’s public education system. Navigating a minefield of competition, quotas, retention, privatization, class size, corporate welfare, and litigation is tricky on the best of days, but what does any of it have to do with teaching Johnny to read? Told with empathy and humor, and featuring a rich cast of characters, A NOBLE FAILURE is startling in its immediacy and passionate in its plea to “Save Our Schools.”
A Noble Failure will be presented as a part of Fertile Ground 2013, Portland's festival of new and developing works. A limited number of seats will be available for purchase each night using a Fertile Ground festival pass. Click here to purchase a festival pass and be sure to mention that Third Rail sent you during checkout, so that we get a credit for the sale from PATA.
To order tickets from Third Rail online click the links below or call us at 503-235-1101.
You can also purchase over the counter at PCPA Box Office – 1111 SW Broadway.
*Please note prices may be subject to service fees.
To download a study guide for A Noble Failure click on this link. Please be patient, the file may take a few minutes to download.
John San Nicolas
Director - Philip Cuomo
Production Manager - Don Crossley
Production Manager - Cameron McFee
Lighting Design - Jennifer Lin
Sound Design - Cameron McFee
Costume Design - Emily Horton
Prop Design - Drew Dannhorn
Set Design - Demetri Pavlatos
Set Construction - Lunar Theatricals
Dramaturg - Larkin Sackett
Stage Manager - Michelle Jazuk
Light Board Op - Alexz Eccles
Sound Op/Venue Steward - Jen Raynak
Master Electrician - James Mapes
Assistant Technical Director - Jason Stanley
Deck Hand - Nick Matlick
'A Noble Failure' teaches to the teachers' view of the test
"...there’s no question that it’s a seriously complex and deeply divisive issue -- one that’s devilishly hard to address fully in a two-hour play. That the playwright (who’s also a teacher) takes the side of the traditional education establishment doesn’t diminish the play’s value as a springboard for discussion." - The Oregonian
“A Noble Failure” tests the limits of testing
"...thanks in part to a set of outstanding acting performances, astutely balanced by director Philip Cuomo, the human consequences of testing and privatization get a good and bright airing." - Oregon Arts Watch & OPB
"A Noble Failure" Review
"...Porter’s deadpan delivery of both jargon and criticism are among the production’s many hilarious moments." - Willamette Week
Reviews: "A Noble Failure" & "The Lost Boy"
"...A Noble Failure succeeds by all theatrical measures: empathetic, deeply rounded characters; bitingly witty, authentic dialogue; taut narrative arc spurred by multiple levels of conflict; smart direction and staging by director Philip Cuomo that recreates the spirit of a school...But more so, it achieves a grander goal: the expression and transmission of deeper cultural ideas and meanings." - Portland Monthly
Side by Side
"Mach deserves credit for avoiding a sensationalized, Dangerous Minds approach to education and instead digs into some of the nitty-gritty of our current system." - Portland Mercury
As a meditation on the meaning of corporate education “reform” today, A Noble Failure is a noble success. Mach has captured both the joy of genuine teaching and learning, and the real human consequence of making students, teachers, and administrators live and die by quantifiable results. - No Struggle, No Progress - a blog by Brian P. Jones
Third Rail Rep announces four-play season for 2012-13
"A teacher at Clackamas Community College, Mach is on a creative hot streak, having also won an Oregon Book Award and landed a spot on Artists Rep's 2012-13 season with her play "The Lost Boy." A staged reading in January's Fertile Ground festival built up the buzz for "A Noble Failure," which deals with the rising rhetoric about failing schools and Mach's contention that it is part of a campaign to push for the privitization of American education. Company member Bruce Burkhartsmeier – Mach's husband – will star." - The Oregonian