A TIMED SPEED READ OF THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FACTORY FIRE TRIAL TRANSCRIPT WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES
DIRECTED AND WRITTEN (from verbatim sources) BY: Alex McLean STARRING: Kathryn McCormack, Briony Merritt and Richie Wilcox CONCEIVED BY: Alex McLean with (alphabetically) Chun Shing Au, Zach Faye, Carmen Lee, Kat McCormack, Briony Merritt, Lily Ross-Millard and Richie Wilcox SET/PROP DESIGN BY: Chun Shing Au, Kerwin Lam and Carmen Lee PRELIMINARY RESEARCH BY: Myrto Koumarianos PRODUCED BY: Surplus Production Unit
In 1911, 146 people were killed in a fire at the factory of the Triangle Waist Company in New York. The highly contentious trial that followed spurred the public to demand workplace safety reforms and became a touchstone for radical and progressive political movements. At the time, people swore that the victims and the fire would never be forgotten.
Three actors –from another country and century –are tasked with reading from the massive trial transcript as quickly as possible. A pop-up semaphore choreography emerges. Despite the speed and physical precision, they must communicate the trial’s key points and central conflicts, while giving insight into the 1911 events and their resonance with the world of today. Can they beat their best time? Can they surprise us? Can they help us remember?
Chun Shing Au is the Artistic Director of Theatre du Poulet. He graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Major in Acting. In 2014, He has participated in the Galway International Arts Festival 2014, Baboro International Arts Festival for children (2014) and the Macnas (Ireland) Symphony for the Restless. In 2015, he and his wife settled in Nova Scotia, Canada.
In 2017, Theatre du Poulet was invited by Nova Scotia’s Live-In Festival to present The Extinction of Hong Kongers. The show was also adapted into radio show produced by Nothing to See Here at NSCAD University, Halifax. In 2018, The Extinction of Hong Kongers won Emerging Artist Award in Toronto SummerWorks Festival and Best Newcomer Award in the Halifax Fringe Festival. In 2019, Theatre du Poulet presented an exhibition work at Prague Quadrennial 2019 named 12548 km and created a new production called Settle Elsewhere in Halifax.
For more details: www.theatredupoulet.com
Neptune: Assistant Lighting Designer (RBC Chrysalis Participant) - The Last Five Years, Calendar Girls Other Theatre: Founded Theatre du Poulet with puppetry, mask and physical theatre; The Extinction of Hong Kongers; Settle Elsewhere. Training: First Class Honours in Arts, Events and Stage Management from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Awards: The Extinction of Hong Kongers, The Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award in the Toronto Summerworks Festival, 2018.
Kat is a theatre artist based in Halifax/Kji’puktuk with a passion for physical, devised work and collective creation. She has, on occasion, been named Best Theatre Actor in The Coast's "Best of Halifax” issue and is a three-time loser of the Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Award for Best Supporting Actress (for her roles in Cinderelly and Alice in Wonderland with Shakespeare by the Sea).
Selected theatre: Tiny, This is Nowhere, Archive of Missing Things, Pop-Up Love Party, Poor Boy (Zuppa Theatre Co.), It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street (Neptune Theatre), The Wizard of Oz, Othello, Twelfth Night, Cinderelly, Snow White, Much Ado About Nothing, Alice in Wonderland, Merry Wives of Windsor, Robin Hood (Shakespeare by the Sea), Speed Dating for Sperm Donors (DMV), After Eepersip Disappeared (Ship's Company), The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Guess How Much I Love You (Mermaid Theatre of NS), Happy Birthday, Wanda June (Lion's Den), Perfection of Man, HomeFRONT (Misery Loves), Ms. Right Now (Forerunner), Blackbird (Angels & Heroes).
Alex McLean is a theatre deviser, director and writer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is a co-artistic director of Zuppa Theatre Co. and has directed and co-conceived most of Zuppa's shows, most recently tiny, This is Nowhere, The Archive of Missing Things and Pop-Up Love Party. He is interested in the collision of new aesthetics with old ideas, troublesome texts and itches that won’t go away. He sometimes likes to make things that are expansive, and sometimes very small. His work has toured to major festivals and venues in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. Alex was also a founding member of Number Eleven Theatre, with whom he co-created and performed The Prague Visitor and Icaria (1998-2006). In 2005 he was a lead artist of the International Theatre Institute’s Moving Stage Lab in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was also a panelist at the 2019 Banff Digital Summit. A specialist in devising, he has published articles in Canadian Theatre Review, WORKS, New Canadian Drama and Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre in English. In 2016 Alex founded Surplus Production Unit to make a show about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Briony is an emerging actor and playwright based in Nova Scotia. She has most recently performed in theatre and film productions with Steady Theatre Co. (Listen to the Wind), Eastern Front Theatre (Old Time Radio Hour), Samsara Productions Ltd. (Rubicon), and Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre (If You Could Wear My Sneakers; Theatre on the Town). As part of Tiny Teapot Theatre Collective, she is also busy devising a musical for Eastern Front’s emerging playwrights’ unit. Briony is so grateful for the chance to revisit the Timed Speed Read at this year’s Stages Festival.
Richie is a multi-talented director/writer/performer whose work has been seen across Canada and toured internationally. He has spent the better part of the last decade co-creating, devising, writing and directing new works. Wilcox is presently the Interim Artistic Director at Ship’s Company Theatre and is the co-founder of Halifax’s queer live art company Heist where he has helped co-create The Princess Show, Princess Rules, Nature VS Nation and New Waterford Boy among other shows.
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