20 May 2013

The University of Queensland Drama students will this week present Sophie Treadwell's critically-acclaimed Machinal at St Lucia.

Premiered on Broadway in 1928 with Clark Gable, this exciting 85th anniversary production of the classic opens tomorrow at UQ St Lucia campus Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio.

Machinal, directed by Dr Sean Edgecomb, is a confronting production, which combines elements of carnival, 1920s freak sideshows and vaudeville.

“The passion, talent, intelligence and drive that these students demonstrate in the performance, is quite simply, amazing,” Dr Edgecomb said.

The strong research background of UQ’s drama area, encourages us to consider different acting theories for the play, namely Meyerhold’s theory of biomechanics (where actors use gestures and movements as a way of expressing emotion physically).

The powerful drama is based loosely on the murder trial of Ruth Snyder and her lover, Judd Gray, who together murdered Snyder's husband in the late 1920s. Snyder was found guilty of the crime and executed by electric chair.

In Machinal, the lead character Helen, attempts to negotiate through a woman's role during this era in history - confined and regimented to wife, mother, housekeeper, and sexual partner.

She is a woman trapped in a dependant status, living a hellish life in a loveless marriage. Then, a man gives Helen a momentary glimpse of passion and her life is forever changed.

Helen discovers how society confines her and how her husband unconsciously dominates her every decision. With a feeling of hopelessness, she commits an egregious crime, murdering her husband to free herself from the constraints of society.

This heavy play is a powerful expressionistic drama about women's forced financial dependency upon men during the 1920s and their trapped existence in a male-dominated, oppressive wasteland.

The production team includes: Sean Edgecomb (Director), Heather Fairbairn (Dramaturgy), Alana Tierney (Chorographer) and current UQ drama students.


WHAT: Machinal

WHEN: 7:30pm, Tuesday, 21 May - Saturday, 25 May 2013

WHERE: Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio at UQ, St Lucia Campus


TICKET BOOKINGS:Click here to buy tickets

Media: Isabelle George, isabelle.george@uqconnect.edu.au