Machinal is the story of “a young woman, any woman,”—a woman destroyed by “a world of money, men, and machines.” Machinal depicts the struggle for personal fulfillment in a world where alienation, commodification and automation reign supreme. A world that is past, present and future.
Treadwell’s 1928 American expressionist masterwork draws inspiration from the case of Ruth Snyder, who was put to death in Sing Sing’s electric chair for killing her husband with the help of her lover Judd Gray. “The murder case was a sensation at the time and was made even more so by a reporter sneaking a camera into the execution chamber. The resulting photograph of Snyder was published on the front page of the Daily Times tabloid,” says Odendahl-James.
“It’s important to remember this play is very much of the 1920s. It was written less than 10 years after women got the right to vote,” she says. “That said, there’s a lot that feels contemporary about feeling trapped in a machine of life that pushes you along without giving you a chance to figure out who you are and why you do things. Certainly technological advancements increase the anxiety about human identity, but Treadwell is very interested in the role that such anxiety and pressure played in women’s lives. That’s specifically why it attracted me—its resonance is still there.
by Sophie Treadwell
Director Jules Odendahl-James
David K. Garner
Asst. Movement Designer
ENSEMBLE listed alphabetically
|Cullen Burling||Adding clerk, Doctor, Speakeasy customer, Judge, Guard|
|Thomas Kavanagh||George H. Jones, Speakeasy customer, Priest|
|Ashley Long||Telephone girl, Speakeasy customer, Matron|
|Tierney Marey||Stenographer, Speakeasy customer, Court Reporter, Barber|
|Roxana Martinez||Mother, Speakeasy customer, Lawyer for the Prosecution|
|Mike Myers||Mr. Roe, Bailiff, Jailer|
|Justin Paley||Filing clerk, Doctor, Mr. Smith, Lawyer for the Defense, Barber|
|Madeleine Pron||The Young Woman|
|Nikki Rigl||Nurse, Reporter|
|Jessica Tanner||Bellboy, Speakeasy waiter, Reporter|