MSMC Theatre presents Machinal, a play written by
American journalist Sophie Treadwell, and inspired by the 1928
conviction and execution of Ruth Brown Snyder for killing her
husband, Albert Snyder.
The play will also run on Thursday and Saturday, November 10 and
12, at 7:30 pm.
This production is a collaborative effort, with a cast and crew
made up of Mount students, faculty, alumni, and SUNY Orange
students. The company hopes this effort will launch a partnership
between SUNY and the Mount for future MSMC Theatre productions.
"The cooperative nature of this production has added depth and
interest to the play," said James Phillips, assistant director of
theatre at the Mount. "Our students saw faculty, alumni, and other
students struggling to fully grasp and inhabit their roles. This
offered them a view into the universality of the theatrical
There's even a Mount alumnus working as the assistant stage
manager, under a student stage manager.
Machinal's 1928 Broadway première, directed by Arthur
Hopkins, is considered one of the highpoints of Expressionist
theatre on the American stage.
Tickets are $5 each or free with a Mount ID. Please call the box
office at 845-569-3179 with any questions.
About the playwright
Sophie Treadwell (1885–1970): Though Sophie Treadwell never
achieved the fame of many of her male colleagues, today she is
considered one of the most accomplished writers and dramatists of
the early twentieth century.
Educated at the University of California at Berkley in 1902, she
earned a degree in French while pursuing interests in acting and
writing. Following her tenure there, Treadwell began writing for
the San Francisco Bulletin and other publications
including Harper’s Weekly and the New York
During World War I, she traveled to Europe as one of America‟s
first female war correspondents and she was the only journalist
permitted to interview Pancho Villa at his hideaway in Canutillo
during the Mexican Revolution. Treadwell‟s first Broadway play,
Gringo, debuted in 1922. Following its success, she went
on to write a number of other plays including: O Nightingale,
Machinal, Ladies Leave, Lone Valley and Plumes in the
Machinal, which is loosely based on the famous murder
trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray, is considered the best in her
oeuvre. The play first opened on Broadway in 1928 and featured a
young Clark Gable. Treadwell also penned the novels, Hope for a
Harvest and One Fierce Hour and Sweet. In
1970, she died in Tucson Arizona, and the majority of her works and
papers were donated to the University of Arizona.