By Sophie Treadwell
February 15 – 23, 2020
Co-Directors: Keith Byron Kirk and Dr. Jesse Njus
Set Designer: Scott Bradley
Lighting Designer: Michael Jarrett
Sound Designer: Joey Juck
Costume Designer: Laura Holt
Production Stage Manager: Destiny Martinez
All production photos by Aaron Sutten
Machinal was written in 1928 by Sophie Treadwell—a feminist, journalist, novelist and playwright who pushed boundaries. Treadwell kept her own last name and own apartment separate from her husband during their marriage, and she fought for women’s rights—suffrage, legalized birth control, and increased sexual freedom—throughout her life.
Machinal was inspired by a true criminal trial that Treadwell covered as a journalist in New York—that of a Queens housewife, Ruth Snyder, accused of killing her husband. Treadwell saw firsthand the skewed tabloid perspective of Snyder presented by the media. In Machinal, Treadwell uses Expressionism to explore the inner emotions and mental illness of the main character, the Young Woman, as opposed to the one dimensional, salacious portrait of Snyder presented by the press. Machinal is the story of the Young Woman’s attempt to escape from the mechanized grind of 1920’s patriarchal society and the violence that results.