My Opinion on the Triangle Factory Project

Niamh Clarke, Journalist

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When I was assigned to review the Theater Ensemble’s new performance The Triangle Factory Project I have to admit I had high hopes for the performance. The play was based on a tragedy that occurred on March 25, 1911, in which a clothing factory caught fire, and 146 of the 500 immigrant workers—mostly young women—died horrible deaths. Dramatic plays being my favorite, I couldn’t wait to see how the students would portray this event.

However, as I watched the performance, it seemed to lack a dramatic flair I had been expecting.

Act one’s story was accurate. The costumes were on point. I was pleasantly surprised to see the ensemble include this minor detail of pinstriped pants for one lawyer. In the theater industry, characters wearing pinstripes were said to have an underlying evil portraying a character soon to be disliked by the audience, and the little touch showed the thought they put into their production.

However, accents of the immigrant characters were a major letdown. Nearly all the workers were teenage girls from Europe (mostly Russia) who did not speak English. The accents of the actors were inconsistent and dropped constantly in the middle of lines. Some accents didn’t even sound like they were from a certain country and they were doing their best to not sound American.

Besides the unsatisfactory accents, the personalities of the different characters were distinct and unique, something I was definitely impressed by. Specifically, the actress playing Margaret Schwartz and the actor who played the fire chief were emotive and left me thoroughly impressed amazed.

Act two seemed to be a different story.

The second half felt like a performance instead of leaving me immersed in the story. The court was well put together. The emotions of the witnesses and the temper of the lawyers definitely came through. But at times, the characters seemed overdone and over dramatic. There were moments when I wanted to feel the tension between the two sides, but instead, I felt like someone was screaming in my ear. With issues seeming to pile up in my mind, it left me disappointed with the ending.

Overall, this play’s dramatic and sad theme was there, but the overall performance seemed inadequate for the talent I know that the Langham Creek Ensemble have. I wish them the best and I look forward to seeing more performances.