1911 horror: Freshmen, sophomores tackle heavy subject in upcoming play

Submitted Photo The workers in the Triangle Waistshirt Factory, played by Minot High School freshmen and sophomores, go about their normal daily tasks before disaster strikes.

A horrific disaster that took place in 1911 is coming to light in 2020 by the Central Campus Playmakers in “The Triangle Factory Fire Project,” directed by Kevin Neuharth.

It will be performed Feb. 27-29, beginning at 7:30 p.m. all three days at the Central Campus High School theater.

“The Triangle Factory Fire Project” is about a garment factory in Manhattan that went up in flames after a match or cigarette butt fell into a pile of fabric. Numerous young immigrants died in the fire, from smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping from windows on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors. The play is a retelling of that event and the repercussions that ensued.

The trial involving the two owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and two lawyers takes up a large portion of the second act.

Neuharth was contacted about directing the play and working with freshmen and sophomores to reproduce the feelings of fear, pain and grief. He said he was fortunate to have enough students audition for the play that he could expand the cast to 15 members instead of the original nine the script was written for.

Every student has an important role to play, and they have all done very well to prepare for the performance. The issues that the young actors and actresses are addressing are very heavy for people their age to be tackling. “Kudos to them, man, oh, man,” Neuharth said.

The director also said that if he gets the opportunity to do the play again, he would diversify the age range of the cast to include adults. Neuharth stated that he is a “major history buff” and that was one of the underlying reasons that he really wanted to bring “The Triangle Factory Fire Project” to life. He also doesn’t want people to forget that so many young men and women died when it all could have been avoided by having better safety measures in place.