- People became very materalistic and wanted to have the latest appliances like cars
- Factories were set up and the use of machines grew, this meant goods could be made cheaply and quikly.
- Factories increased americas economic output by 50%
- Highly influenced by 1920s society
- Strong influences from expressionist artists use of exaggeration and disortion.
- Represesnts characters in a machine like way resembling more like cogs than office workers
- Clearly she juxtaposes the main female protagonist against the machine like environment
- The young woman in this drama seeks to find her identity in a world whic dictates her set path
- Treadwells Machine like structured society shows a cear represtation of people at the time; they were just represnted as people inside this big machines, the cogs whih keep society running in a capitalistc way,
- In 1927 Treadwell attended murder trial, this is a massive influence on her playwrite.
- The trial accusedRuth Synder a 32 house wife of killing her husband. It was claimed Synder was having an affair with Judd Gray, ad it is believed tha in 1927 she and Gray planned the murder of her husband.
- Both were sentenced to death
- Althought a journalist, Treadwell did not attend the trial, she did however have extensive experience of similar cases.
- Treadwell used this as a springboard for her ideas in Machinal
- Although Machinal didnt contain any direct reference to the case she did opt to use experssionist conventions such as generalised nameslike the young woman.
- It isnt realistic, it is a clear example of expressionist theatre, this genre began in the early 20th century.
- Expressionist plays didnt aim to replicate reality on stage, instead they wanted to focus upon characters inner states ad emotions many aspects were presented in an almost dream like or surreal state
- The dialogue is fast and set is realtivley minimalistic
- Epressionism is usaully presented in episodes to show a truggle usually against authority. Emotions are heightened and speech is excalmatory and cliiped.
- The non naturalistic, expressionist dialogue. episodic strcture and stereotyped characters all heled treadwell to distance the plot from the Synder trial.
- Throughout the play, sound is used to create moods and atmosphere nd lighting is very important especially when it is used as punctutions at the begining and ending of scenes,
- Treadwell wrote extensivley about the opression of women in the early twentieth century.
- She disnt want to write a play which conatined a realisitc female role that seemed real. Instead she wanted to focus upon portraying this womans inner emotions and turmoil. She attempts to convey a woman at 'The mercy of an impersonal society with the society reresented as flat, uncaring, repetitive. confusing and harsh.'
- The play was not typial of the time. It should be rememered that this play was written in a time when males dominaed and females faced subjugation.
Key exam points
- For the time it would be been unusual in that Treadwell spoke out about feminist issues and led a lide that would have been considered 'risque'
- It is perhps possible to see a comparison between Helens sruggle to follow her dreams and find finicial and emtional independence in a male dominated world and Sophie Treadwells own life.
- The play has a message that isnt realistic, all actors need to be aware of the genreIt is a tradegy with comic elements and the speed of delievery and movement need thorough and detaied choreography.
- Simple set design shouldnt distract the audience from the message of the play.
- The sound and lighting should enhace & punctuate the action on stage. It is a play that refelcts its context but also reflects the inner emotions and feeligs of women who feel restricted by society.