Ruth Sergel, the Triangle Fire Coalition’s director, was speaking about the 100th Commemoration in March of 2011 and mentioned a performance piece that was going to be conducted by Lulu Lolo; a name I was under the impression I should know, but had never heard of. Curiously I did some research and discovered an artist with a dynamic personality, an extremely diversified resume, and a combined passion for her Italian heritage and for history.
Lolo is a self-declared playwright, actor, performance artist and traditional artist working in installation, sculpture, photography, and collage. One of her most successful performance pieces has been her “14th Street NewsBoy”, inspired by the newsboys of the 1900s who sold their papers on the street. One day a week for four weeks in October of 2009, LoLo stood outside in newsboy garb with 350 copies of “The Fourteenth Street Tribune, Art in Odd Places Edition”, which LoLo wrote. The paper features the “famous, notorious, and tumultuous events of the history of 14th Street”.
Lolo has also written and performed six one-person plays, which includes Soliloquy for a Seamstress: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, a tragedy that happened in Washington Square Park nearly a century ago. Lolo deems herself passionate about social justice and the struggle of women in New York. Performing about the Triangle Fire was a combination of these artistic influences and her love for her own Italian heritage; many of the Triangle Fire victims were also Italian.
Soliloquy for a Seamstress: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is a drama in which Lo Lo plays three characters, a teenage seamstress at the Triangle, Sara Saracino, who dreams of a better life, an Italian immigrant mother and the young reporter William Gunn Shepard whose career will be made on the reporting he did on the day of the Triangle Fire. It has been performed most notably at the Teaching the Triangle Factory Fire Forum at Adelphi University and on the 99th Anniversary of the Fire commemoration ceremonies at Judson Church. She will perform at the Commemoration events this year, but you’ll have to attend to see what the Fabulous Lulu Lolo will do.