“The remnants past are always with us.”
Set against the backdrop of the historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, this stylistically thrilling play explores the immigrant experience then and now through the tragedy of the “fire that changed America.” Sophie, a 16-year-old seamstress who died in the fire, haunts Malena, a modern Hispanic girl who is in conflict with her sister, Isabel. Sophie is filled with guilt because she did not save her sister, Rose, from the fire and now cannot find her. When Sophie, along with the ghosts of other dead factory girls, appears to her, Malena encourages Sophie to tell her story, never imagining that they will all be transported back in time to relive the tale. An ensemble of actors portrays the ghosts of those who died in the fire and seamlessly takes on individual roles in Sophie’s story. Sophie has arranged a job at the Triangle factory for Rose to keep her from running the streets with a gang of rowdy boys. But now Sophie owes the foreman, Mr. Jake, a favor. He demands that Sophie spy on the union organizers, who are her friends. If she refuses, Sophie and her sister will be fired and blacklisted. Sophie, unaware that her sister is in love with Max, meets him one night at a dance, and they fall in love. Already angry at Sophie for making her work at the Triangle, Rose discovers this relationship and, in her anger, lies, telling Max that Sophie has “traded favors” with other men. Max, crazed with anger and jealousy, rejects Sophie who, alone and afraid of losing her job, decides the only way out is to give up her dreams and marry Louis, a successful man she doesn’t love. Then someone strikes a match and there is a fire … In this tale of regret, responsibility and forgiveness, Sophie reveals her terrible secret and finds peace while helping Malena see her sister in a new light.
Triangle was commissioned and premiered by the School of Theatre and Film at Arizona State University.
“My students and I loved working on this show, and we got wonderful feedback from our audiences and the press. The script allows for great flexibility and creativity in staging and design. The serious subject matter (with both historical and modern significance) and high level of ensemble work provided a great challenge for students in a performing arts program.”
-Cassy Maxton, Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School, Fishersville, Va.
Available from: Dramatic Publishing