Frederick Barrett is a fascinating character. We decided early
on that we would have no character that actually didn't exist. And Frederick
Barrett did exist and he was a stoker. We decided to make Barrett come from
the Midlands in England from Knottingshire and it's coal mining country and
Barrett is coal miner.
He's lived a life in the ground, shoveling the coal and working in the earth and his dream is to get above that. And to go out to sea and to live a life of freedom where he can see the sky and breathe the air. He does that only to find himself working in the depths of this ship. He's aware of the irony of the situation and he has fulfilled his dream but he realizes that he's certainly in the same place where he started working making it work, creating the engine to move- to turn.
There's a great moment where he comes to the end of the song and he sings:
"For a record speed I believe we strive!
For the maiden trip that's too hard to drive
If you push her faster than seventy-five.
That is the truth
-- Brian d'Arcy James, Frederick Barrett
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