Xaverian students have spent their free time rehearsing for a production of Sophie Treadwell’s ‘Machinal’. The group have been rehearsing for four months and performed two spectacular shows to an audience of students and families. The mammoth cast was formed of 19 students from upper and lower sixth students, some studying Drama and others not, and for a few it was their first time performing on stage!
Rehearsals took place in the cast’s own time, and they brought a lot of their own ideas and creativity to the piece. ‘Machinal’ has been adapted into an intense theatrical thriller: The dark story of a woman driven to the murder of her husband was approached from many angles all at once, as the actors sang, danced, reviewed, repeated, and philosophised over the unsettling, brooding sequence of events.
The play was inspired by the trial of Ruth Snyder in 1927. Sophie Treadwell – playwright, investigative reporter, suffragette and feminist – wrote the play in response to the sensationalist reportage of the murder trial and Ruth Snyder’s character. The play is written with a strong expressionist influence, and, with tender sincerity, details the life of a woman who commits murder – how she struggles to find her place in a workplace, a home, a marriage, a family, all of which are brutal, harsh and devoid of tenderness. ‘Machinal’ is a Broadway classic, though relatively unknown, and considered a highly important event in the history of expressionist and political theatre. A-Level Drama students study the play as part of the third component of the Drama course; analysing design and performance elements for the stage. Congratulations to the cast of ‘Machinal’ – you have made us very proud!