CSU Theatre to Stage ‘Machinal’ April 2-5

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University Theatre will stage the 1928 Broadway classic, Machinal, April 2-5 at CSU Theatre on the Park Mainstage in downtown Columbus. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Director and CSU theatre professor Becky Becker said the play is a classic of the feminist theater movement that was re-discovered in the 1980s.

James Phass and Mandi Kerr rehearse a scene from Machinal.Loosely based on the sensational 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder — the first woman put to death by the electric chair for murdering her husband — Sophie Treadwell’s story digs deep into the mind of a young woman who dares to push her boundaries created by a cold, machine-like world.

“Women making non-typical decisions in an era when women had distinct expectations is a human statement as well as a feminine one,” said Becker. “Machinal is about a young woman who doesn’t fit into the mold of that time. And with no resources to help her cope, she strikes out.”

The script represents one of the best examples of American expressionism, said Becker. In selecting the play, Becker said her faculty colleagues agreed it was timely. “Women writers were overlooked a lot in the 1920s,” she said. “We recognized this and decided the play would be a good experience for the students.”

Becker said the production also transcends feminism. “There are many important issues the play emphasizes,” she said. “It is about greater equity for humankind ... It’s a beautifully written example of a person struggling to find their own voice in a journey I think we all can relate to.”

Complementing the storyline, the cast and stage design elements bring the production full circle. “We have more than 28 total characters played by 15 actors,” said Becker. “Mandi Kerr, in the lead role, is the only cast member in a single role. After all, we’re following her through this jarring reality. It seems familiar but also has a nightmarish feel.”

Becker also pointed out a unique sound design by sound and lighting designer Krystal Kennel. “The idea is to fill the production with sounds of that world – the machine age,” said Kennel, an assistant professor in the theatre department. “It’s very much like the scoring of a film —constantly reminding the audience of the world they’ve entered, connecting them to the characters and the storyline.”

General admission is $15; $13 for seniors, children, active military and CSU alumni; and free for CSU faculty and staff (limit two) and students (limit one). For more information, call the CSU theatre box office at 706-507-8444.

CSU's Student Cast
• Mandi Kerr - Young Woman
• Carrie Poh - Stenographer, First Clerk, Jailer br> • E.J. Cameron - Adding Clerk, G-Man, Second Clerk, First Guard
• Richard Frazier - Filing Clerk, Young Doctor, Boy, Third Clerk, Second Guard
• Brittany Allen - Telephone Girl, First Reporter
• Jim Pharr - Mr. J, Man at Bar, Prosecution, Barber
• Kizzy Louis, Mother, Girl at Bar, Second Reporter
• Stephen Smith - First Man. Huckster, Third Reporter
• Lindsay Hand - Nurse,Wife’s Voice, Court Reporter/Matron
• Dylan Bollinger - Doctor, Small Boy’s Voice, Judge, Priest
• Jon Sanderson - Second Man, Man’s Voice, Bailiff, Execution Spectator
• Jeremiah Hobbs - MIB, Husband’s Voice, Defense, First Barber