Machinal at Northwestern University

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Helen, a young office worker, follows the rituals prescribed by society and is left feeling trapped and unfulfilled. Looking for a way out of her sordid marriage, the young woman begins to find her freedom, but with life-changing consequences. Written in 1928 by American playwright and journalist Sophie Treadwell, the play is neither a sensational thriller nor a courtroom drama, but rather an unfolding tragedy of someone who is powerless in society.  “The play is about women’s rage,” director Biskup said. “We still live in a society where women are perceived as less capable than men. The patriarchy devalues women, denies men their own complex emotional life, and erases folx (sic) who don’t fit into its narrow gender roles. Society demands conformity to its neat and tiny boxes and levies extreme consequences for those who refuse to make themselves small enough to fit. Helen is a woman who doesn’t fit into the narrow role that has been offered to her.”