Machinal tells the story of a “young woman – any woman” who works as a stenographer in the industrial, male-dominated world of the 1920s. The play depicts her struggle for personal fulfillment in a world where isolation, commodification and automation overwhelm daily life. An illicit love affair opens the door to joy and a new future, but when reality sets in and she must return to her routine existence, she will go to any lengths to keep her freedom. Sophie Treadwell’s expressionist masterwork premiered in 1928. It takes its inspiration from the real-life case of Ruth Snyder who, along with her lover, was convicted and executed for the murder of her husband. Although Treadwell was also a journalist, Machinal is in no way a literal retelling of the Snyder case. Instead, Treadwell absorbed details of the case to study the forces that would influence a woman to commit such an awful deed. Treadwell’s script presents a sequence of nine scenes depicting “the different phases of life that a woman comes in contact with, and in none of which she finds any place, any peace,” according to her stage directions. The New York Times theatre critic, Brooks Atkinson said this about Machinal after its premiere: "From the sordid mess of a brutal murder the author, actors and producer of Machinal … have with great skill managed to retrieve a frail and sombre beauty of character. Subdued, monotonous, episodic, occasionally eccentric in its style, Machinal is fraught with a beauty unfamiliar to the stage." Atkinson describes the play as "the tragedy of one who lacks strength; she is not adaptable; she submits. … Being the exposition of a character, stark and austere in style, Machinal makes no excuses for the tragedy it unfolds.” (“The Play”, The New York Times, September 8, 1928). This production is directed by Esme Allen and features the following students in the cast: Sarah Jean Durning Stephen Caliskan Schanaya Barrows Skylar Longley Symphony Shea Kenny Bonilla Marc Fournier Christian Kinney Michael Shifty Celestin Riley Toland Marck-Hens Jules Nick Principi Fernando Barbosa Caitlyn Luria
Machinal by Sophie Treadwell
Date and Time
Thursday Mar 11, 2021Thursday Mar 18, 2021
Your ticket provides access to the recorded show at any time from March 11 at 7:30 pm through March 18 at 11:30 pm.
$10.00 General Admission FREE for SSU Community Members Access to the online production is printed on your pdf ticket and will be forwarded in a confirmation email upon purchase. We recommend using Google Chrome for the best viewing experience.