A woman. Trapped in a system. Caught in a machine. Turned to a victim any way she looks, whether she accepts her plight or fights it.
Inspired by the notorious case of Ruth Snyder, an adulteress who died in the electric chair for the murder of her husband, Machinal explores the personal tragedy of an open, gentle individual imprisoned within a crowded, hard society. Told in nine episodes in an expressionistic style and dramatized consistently from the viewpoint of the Young Woman, it is a milestone in feminist theatre; a bleak and biting indictment of a world ruled by men. Upon its premiere on Broadway, Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times was so intrigued he reviewed the production twice, calling it a work that “in a hundred years… should still be vital and vivid.” Now, as our lives become ever more mechanized and standardized, the story of one lone individual seeking to make her voice heard grows in relevance. The current political climate, the struggle to find financial security without sacrificing your dreams, to control your own body and shape your own future in a world in which women’s power to do so remains severely limited, has indeed never been more vital and vivid.