automatic fault isolation- 2012


In a motel room in 1965 Huntsville, Alabama. a precocious 17-year-old named Bretaigne flirts with her middle-aged math tutor, an aerospace engineer and war vet from the north. But unknown to the engineer, Bretaigne’s plan is to use his room for an arranged meeting with the boy of her dreams: Sebastian, a Negro rock and roller who arrives thinking they will be alone. In a city rocketing towards the mysteries of racial integration and outer space, a teenager, her NASA crush and Negro love collide in Automatic Fault Isolation.

Anna Flynn-Meketon as Anna

John Rosenberg as Kevin 

Sebastian Cummings as Sebastian

Written and directed by John Rosenberg

Automatic Fault Isolation debuted at the Papermill Theater in June of 2012.


Reviewed by Howie Shapiro for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Reviewed by Mark Cofta for Philadelphia City Paper.

Reviewed by J Cooper Robb for Philadelphia weekly
Automatic Fault Isolation

Disparate and highly combustible elements are mixed together with explosive results in playwright John Rosenberg’s new drama Automatic Fault Isolation. Rosenberg’s story of self-discovery focuses on Bretaigne (Anna Flynn-Meketon), a young woman in 1965 Huntsville, Ala., who is attracted to two entirely different men. One is a white, middle-aged NASA flight engineer named Kevin and the other a radical black rock ’n’ roller named Sebastian. Ultimately a story of one woman’s search for identity, Bretaigne arranges a potentially violent encounter between the men in the hope that the incident will reveal whether her path in life is to be (in Rosenberg’s words) “a martyred daughter of the Confederacy or an explorer on the edge of a new frontier.” The first production this season from the small company Hella Fresh Theater, Fault is playing at the Papermill Theater, a 50-seat theater that occupies part of the five-story warehouse used by the Papermill Arts Collective, one of the many enterprising arts organizations that have made Kensington the city’s new cultural hot spot. -J.C.R.

some people liked this play, some people were like fuck that noise.  I think in a sense it was…it seems like i do one play a year people super like and one esoteric fucking thing i like. or not, who knows. anyways, i loved this play.  The form was awesome.  anna Flynn Meketon was wonderful as Anna.  She HATED the monologue she had to deliver near the start of the play. HATED IT. I loved acting with Anna, it was fun.  It was difficult to act and try to direct at the same time,  there was a definite myopia that descended at times, but that worked in my head.  

the turning point in the rehearsals came when my mom sat in and tore the shit we had done to pieces.  It was boring. what she urged us to do was to make it a play of games…a picnic in one part, teacher pupil in another, sexual tension in others…Me and Anna basically devised the movement together and i was super impressed by her ability and what we created.  

What Sebastian created with Sebastian was simply marvelous.  He got a chance to play a character more up his alley, as opposed to Kevin in queen of All Weapons which he hated.  Sebastian was great and patterned his English accent after christopher munden.  he nailed it and the two of them singing wolly bully with me behind a curtain with a knife was great. 

I think in a sense i did what i wanted and didnt care what people thought and that was a good feeling.  Chris Munden pointed it out to me, that Howie shapiro’s review that it was just a long conversation that happened until a thing happened should be read as a positive, not negative.  he was right and i am proud it was just a long conversation until something happened on-stage. 

Howie Shapiro of the Inquirer refused to run the photo from the play, saying it wasnt a scene from the play and was more editorial or whatever. That was dumb, it was a great photo.  He just didnt like the play. 

Kenzo shit…

we were rehearsing and it was super hot in the space and Anna Flynn Meketon was dying from the heat.  I couldnt reach the fan, so we got a ladder to reach it and i was at the top of the ladder and sebastian was holding the bottom and that shit collapsed and i feel and did something to my elbow and that shit hurt and there was something floating in my elbow for hella long.