Student Written Evaluation Document
The stimuli for my devised piece is ‘Machinal’ written by American playwright and journalist Sophie Treadwell and premiered on Broadway in 1928. Treadwell wrote the play based on the true events that unravelled around New Yorker Ruth Snyder who killed her husband in her unhappy marriage and was executed by electric chair; Ruth was the first woman to be executed by electric chair since 1899 which provoked the significance of her story. Treadwell explores the themes of isolation, oppression and female objectification all of which I took on board and intend to include in my devised piece. Sophie Treadwell explores the pain of women in an unhappy marriage and how they coped with their emotions in a male dominated society and in-particular Ruth Snyder’s story under the strict control of her husband, in the play portrayed as machine like hence the name Machinal meaning machine. The metaphor title as machine reflects the women’s role in society at the time to be a machine, to procreate and be housewives throughout their lives whilst men work. Machinal explores how women were sexually objectified and women had to deal with the patriarchal society and position in a marriage. One key area she explores is how ‘Mrs Jones’ is a victim of marital rape which was legal at the time it was written but more importantly only became illegal in America in 1993, a fact I personally found shocking which evoked me to base my expressionistic devised piece on martial rape to highlight what happens behind closed doors in society and make my audience aware of an issue that still persists today. Treadwell was the first expressionist writer to look at a story of this magnitude from a female’s perspective and empathises with her rather than immediately persecuting her. Cary M. Mazer said in her article ‘Why is everyone suddenly doing an obscure 1928 play?’ that ‘only Treadwell and Susan Glaspell depict women’s issues from a women’s perspective’, which...
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