Machinal The Psychodrama
The psychedelic tale of Machinal, (Machinal means of pertaining to machines in French) starts off at a busy subway, where we see Hall playing the role of Miss A., rushing through the crowd of people looking for solitude where she can breathe again. She is a stenographer in a world where the industry is dominated by men and women have no or very little say in everything, including their own lives. The suffocating scene that initiates the play gives the audiences an impression of how it is going to go from there onwards. Eventually, despite her repulsion towards an arranged marriage, she is forced into one by her mother, and on her wedding night her husband, Mr. J. declares that he is her husband now, defining her role and status in that one sentence.
The story goes on as Helen becomes mother of a child, but motherhood wasnt something she desired, hence it brings no joy to her life either. Desperate to find her freedom in a world that is keen on suffocating her rights, she ends up having an affair. However, reprieve is always thin, and when the reality strikes again, the desperate housewife is ready to do whatever it takes to break the chains that captivate her.
Ruth Snyder The Real Tale
Convicted of murdering her husband, Albert, Ruth Snyder was executed in an electric chair in January of 1928. Snyder was a regular housewife living in Queens Village, New York. She had a running love affair with Henry Judd Gray, a married salesman. Eventually, as her husband became a hurdle in her love affair, she planned his murder. It is told that her hatred for Albert took flame when he wanted to keep his late finances picture hanging in their house, and later also named his boat after her. Ruths life was full of unfortunate and miserable events, which is what Treadwell tries to portray in her play, Machinal.
Sophie Treadwell The Playwright
Many know Sophie Treadwell for being an accomplished journalist of her time, while others know her as a great playwright, famous for the psychodrama, Machinal and Intimations for Saxophone. She is considered as one of the leading playwrights of the twentieth century. As a professional journalist, she is known for interviewing Pancho Villa exclusively in 1921, for New York Tribune. Apart from being an accomplished journalist and writer, Treadwell was also a skilled actress, and had Helena Modjeska, the famous Polish star as her mentor. Most of what remains of Sophies writings are today stored at University of Arizona Library Special Collection. Rest can be found at The Billy Rose Theatre Collection of New York Public Library. Some notable works by her include The Right Man, Highway, Woman with Lies, Ladies Leave and Once Fierce Hour and Sweet.
Machinal at American Airlines Theatre
Machinal has been adapted into several different productions over the years, and has received a great reception wherever it has been taken to. This new revival of the play features Rebecca Hall, the British star who has been known for her films like The Town, Vicky Christina Barcelona and The Prestige. Performances started in December of 2013, and plan to run all through January and February as well.