i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

American Drama

February 26, 2005

Although I felt that "woah, baby, this is right over my head!" I did enjoy reading an excerpt from Dr. Jerz's Technology in American Drama because it helped solidify and clarify my thoughts on two recent texts that we've read in American Literature: Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine and, more recently, Sophie Treadwell's Machinal.

I did notice the connection between the two immediately upon reading the first sentence of the introduction; however, I couldn't quite put my finger on exactly what the difference between the two main characters. Dr. Jerz writes, "By contrast, Treadwell supplies her Young Woman with an understated motive but an overabundance of soul."

It was interesting to read some of the background information of Ruth Snyder as it relates to Machinal. It was also interesting to note that Treadwell is commended as solving one of the problems seen in The Adding Machine: "how to get drama out of an inarticulate character." (I would really love to see a production of this play!)

Dr. Jerz writes, "The sound also implies that by producing a child, the Young Woman has now become a wheel in the social machine that she finds so unbearable." Interestingly, this is also the scene where religion comes into play and continues throughout the rest of the play - it starts with the writing of the prescription in Latin.

It was interesting to note that Treadwell left the rights for Machinal to the Roman Catholic Church in Tuscon. I had been wondering about Sophie Treadwell's relationship to catholicism and, boom, there it was! I had originally thought that Treadwell had a problem with the Catholic Church but upon reading that passage and going back to look at choice parts in the play, I realize that the play was more in support of Catholic ideology.

Moira at 08:00 PM :: Comments (2) :: ::

The director of the theatre program at Seton Hill is also a fan of Machinal... We can lobby him to produce it some day! There's a committee that decides what plays to produce each year... maybe we could stack it one year and force him to do our bidding! ;)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 26, 2005 08:12 PM

Oooh! I really think it would be worthwhile to see this one produced - I loved the play, could definitely see and hear it in my head. I think it would be a powerful piece. We should definitely work on getting the director to work on producing it! We could write letters in class one day! ;c) Seriously though, I think seeing this play would be great. I have a connection at the Pittsburgh Playhouse... maybe I can get him to put in a word?

Posted by: moira at February 26, 2005 09:05 PM
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