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New Mexico State University theater department to open season with "Machinal"

The New Mexico State University Department of Theatre Arts and the American Southwest Theatre Company (ASTC) will open the 2004-2005 season with Sophie Treadwell's "Machinal" Oct. 1-10 at the Hershel Zohn Theatre on the NMSU campus.


al" is about a woman, Helen Jones, who lives an almost lifeless existence working as a secretary in an office ruled by machines and being forced into a loveless marriage by her domineering mother. She soon finds herself suffocated by the choices that were made for her and struggles to break free from her machine-like life. Ultimately, she finds that freedom in murder.

"Machinal" is loosely based on the events of the 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, whose electrocution for her crime took the media by storm.

"'Machinal' is a play about how money and machines control our daily lives, especially the lives of women," said Tom Smith, co-director and NMSU theater assistant professor.

Brenda Walker, a senior majoring in theater, will be directing the play with Smith.

"We're telling a story not only about this specific woman, Helen Jones, but about all women," Walker said. "We really want to reinforce the sense of timelessness and timeliness in the play."

To do this, Smith and Walker cast four women to play the role of Helen and chose not to set the play in a specific time period.

Scenic and lighting design is by resident designer Jim Billings and costume design is by NMSU theater student Crystal Herman. The sound is by Smith and props are by technical director Dave Hereford. Original music is composed by local composer and musician Sam Greene.

Tickets for "Machinal" are $8-$13, depending on performance time and date. For times and reservations call the ASTC box office at (505) 646-4515.

The 2004-2005 season also includes "Season's Greetings," "On the Verge," "The Shape of Things" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Season tickets are available through Oct. 10. They range in price from $36 to $55. A "pick-your-own" coupon book of eight tickets is available for $80.

Season sponsorships are available for businesses wishing to contribute to NMSU Theatre Arts and ASTC. Season sponsors receive advertising in all theater programs. For more information contact Michael Wise, artistic director, at (505) 646-5418.