University of Rochester

EVENT: University of Rochester's International Theatre Program presents Machinal

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 8 p.m. on April 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 and May 1, with a matinee at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 25; in Todd Theatre on the River Campus.

ADMISSION: Tickets are $10 for the general public; $6 for University of Rochester students; and $8 for University faculty and staff.
Note: Parking is available on University lots after 7 p.m. weeknights and all weekend.

April 7, 2004

What happens when an individual numbed by society's demands finally awakens to free choice? The University of Rochester's International Theatre Program will stage a 1928 Broadway drama that offers a remarkably contemporary exploration of the tragic consequences of isolation and entrapment in a mechanical society. Machinal, written by journalist-turned-playwright Sophie Treadwell, opens at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, in Todd Theatre on the River Campus. The play continues at 8 p.m. on April 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, and May 1, with a matinee scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 25.

The play is loosely based on the sensational 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, which Treadwell covered. Divided into nine episodes, Machinal examines a woman's roles as a dutiful employee, daughter, wife, and mother in a mechanical world. To underscore the "every woman" nature of the story, play director Mahayana Landowne will use a different actress for each of the scenes.

"The play is meant to open up a plethora of questions about society and about individuality: issues including the death penalty, gender stereotypes, homosexuality, family responsibilities, and others," said Landowne. "College students may be facing similar issues of defining self in a hostile, machine-like world."

Landowne is a critically acclaimed director whose production of Steve Belber's Eclectic Mulatto Moondance at the District of Columbia Arts Center toured nationally. She was a Van Lier Fellow at the Second Stage Theater, a directing fellow at the Drama League, a participant in the Woman's Theater Project for three years, and has directed numerous productions across the country.

Set design for Machinal is by Erik Flatmo, whose recent productions include Julia Jordan's Saint Scarlet, Brooke Berman's Smashing, and the Anne Washburn's Apparition. Sound design and original music is by Bob Ackroyd, who has also worked in music production, light design, and sound reinforcement. Lighting design is by Matt Frey, whose recent credits include Melissa James Gibson's Suitcase and her Obie award-winning play [sic]. Deanna Berg, who has worked with Landowne on productions of Antony & Cleopatra and Measure for Measure, is the costume designer.

The production will incorporate 28 actors, more than 100 roles, and more than 100 costumes.

Tickets for Machinal are $10 for the general public, $6 for University of Rochester students, and $8 for University faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased at the Common Market in Wilson Commons on the River Campus or at the door. For more information, please contact the International Theatre Program at (585) 275-4959.