Sophie Treadwell (1885 – 1970) was an American actor, director, producer, journalist, war correspondent, novelist, women’s rights advocate and playwright. She wrote 40 plays and enjoyed success on Broadway in her lifetime but Machinal remains her most famous work.
Based on the sensational real life case of a woman, who along with her paramour, murdered her husband and was sent to the electric chair, it was first staged in New York in 1928 starring a young Clarke Gable in the role of the lover.
Regularly appearing high in lists of “100 best plays of all time,” Machinal is a remarkable piece of theatre.
As it approaches its 100th birthday it’s modernity remains jaw dropping, it’s theatricality breath-taking and its controversial subject matter still challenging. It’s feminist take on a sleazy murder trial and it’s use of expressionism as a stylistic device make for a stirring evening of theatre. It truly is a work of art.