Sunday, June 19, 2011
The Boston Conservatory Workshops "Factory Girls"
Based on "The Lowell Offering" and "The Voices of Industry" (periodicals written by women working in these local mills in the early 1840s), The Factory Girls tells the fictionalized story of one representative textile mill- an homage to the real women who lived the compelling tale. Composer/playwrights Creighton Irons and Sean Mahoney use the powerful pop/rock score as a vehicle to showcase the hope and angst of their characters. With a limited book, the lyrics propel the story forward.
From the opening number, Margaret Lamb (Lucy) spun a marvelous tale through monologues of exposition filled with empathy for her fellow girls and yearning to help the audience understand. I would say that she was extraordinary, but the rest of the cast proved just as talented with their respective roles. Hayley Lovgren (Harriet)'s heart-wrenching and pivotal “Father of ‘76” moved me to compassion and understanding for her background and philosophy. Marissa Rae Roberts (Sarah)'s acting was also remarkably poignant.
The set was beautifully minimalist but the lighting was both stunning and disappointing. With a show that shifts locations in almost a dream-like manner, I expected a heavier focus on lighting to enhance the scenes and spectacle. The choreography, though limited, added character and verve to the rock musical’s score, most notably in the repetitive and compelling “Machine.” The most helpful technical element, however, was the costumes. With limited character development to differentiate the 10 female characters, memorable and personality-distinct costumes helped me keep the characters straight. Without the patterns of colors from dull pinks to flashy blues, I would never have remembered who sang the sultry “Rusty” or the soaring solos in ‘The River.”
I look forward to future edits of Factory Girls as the writers improve from workshop to production. I also hope to attend more Boston Conservatory Theatre productions as the talented actors give me hope for the next generation of musical theatre performers.
This review was written by My Theatre's newest staff writer Brian Balduzzi.
Welcome to the team, Brian!