Thursday 8 February 2024

The 146 Point Flame - Matt Thompson aka Matthew Salazar-Thompson

The 146 Point Flame
Matt Thompson aka
ISBN 9781619591417

I picked up a digital copy of this play when my son was trying out for it. He school is entering a drama competition and this is the play they selected to do. I got the digital copy so my son and I could read through the script together. I had not heard of Mr Thompson prior to picking up this play. The description of this play is:

“An original one-act play based on the historic 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. Through words, movement and music, four young women share their dreams, thoughts, fears and feelings about their ultimate destinies. An Italian immigrant, Vincenza, shares her last night on Earth with romance, smiles and dancing. Tessa celebrates her life with a story about her brother and mother. Sisters Lena and Yetta meditate on the strength and endurance of moving from Russia to America and the parallels of moving from life to the afterlife. Touching and poetic, this piece illuminates the definition of human courage.”

The cast list is:

Male Ensemble: Plays the roles of Foreman, Garcelanco, Father, Fireman, Brother, Mysterious Man and Elevator Operator.

The Author’s Note states:

“Even though there are five actors onstage, each actor has a story to tell. They are conscious of one another, but they have minimal interaction. They do listen to one another’s stories throughout, sometimes reacting to the words by smiling, clapping, etc. The staging should suggest quickness in between character dialogue. This piece is not linear in form and should be taken as such by the artists involved. The element of time is critical to this piece.

The play is set in 1911. The actresses should wear simple dresses of the period, nothing fancy or colorful. The MALE ENSEMBLE may wear a suit. His change into different characters can be done using the skills of the actor. Very little costume change is needed.”

There is also a note regarding casting that states:

“This piece is powerful with the minimum of five actors. That being said, several productions have added a chorus of women, aside from the four main female roles. The addition of up to eight actresses can contribute to the staging elements, as well as the overall production value, if needed. These additional actresses speak the lines of “ALL WOMEN” and where it states that all of the actors speak. The MALE ENSEMBLE role may also be delineated among up to seven actors, if necessary.”

The text is 31 pages in the digital pdf version starting with a full page of stage directions for how the play should start and staging. I have read through the play twice now and watched a production of it online with the minimum cast of 5. I look forward to seeing my son’s production of it. He is playing the priest and they are doing a staging with 17 students in grades 10 and 11. 

The play itself is a deeply moving piece, following the four women’s pieces within the play. Based on a true story or a real tragedy you cannot help but think about those who actually perished and to think about working conditions then in New York and now in other places around the world. 

It is an excellent little play to read, and having read it before watching it made it much easier to follow. It is a play I can recommend and can also recommend picking up a copy from the publisher to read before going to see it. I just wish there was a kindle or kobo edition of the play, the pdf does not display well on small screens. 

Other works by Matt Thompson:
One Act Plays:
A Fare Ride
Appleyolk: The Trial of Rope & Twine on the Clouds
In a New York Minute
The 146 Point Flame
The Audition: A Play in One Act
The High School Drama
Who's on Alpha?

Full Length Plays:
Cellar Door
A Christmas Carol: The Classic Radio Drama
Cloud Barrier
The Complete History of Theatre
Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem!
Opera of the Oasis
Selective Hearing
Star Crossed
Switching Tracks
Ted Williams: A Tip of the Cap
Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol
A Roman Holiday
Hemingway's Rose
Señora Julia
Who's Afraid of Me, Myself & Edward Albee?

Plays for young People:
Beatrice the Butterfly
The Little Mermaid

10 Minute Plays:
Don't Play Games With Me
It's the Holidays!
My Big Fat Greek Divorce
Next Stop!
Nobody's Perfect
Return to Sender
Taking Flight
The Call Girl of Vassar
The Holdiay Icon Monologues
The Holiday Icon Monologues Part II
The Lamentable Tragedy of King Henry the V... Wheel
The Smell of Success
Tough as Nails
Writer's Block
Zebra Visions

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