Machinal $14.99

Buy Kindle Edition

Sophie Treadwell

Published by Nick Hern Books

Large Mixed Cast
The city. A woman is restless. A woman is suffocating. A woman is silenced. The woman revolts

A visceral expressionist masterpiece, Sophie Treadwell's play Machinal was first seen on Broadway in 1928, London in 1930, and was later reclaimed as a 'lost masterpiece' in a landmark production at the UK's National Theatre in 1993

Inspired by the real-life case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder it is considered one of the high-points of Expressionist theatre on the American stage

A young woman works as a low-level stenographer and lives with her mother

She follows the rituals that society expects of a woman, however resistant she may feel about them

She subsequently marries her boss, whom she finds repulsive

After having a baby with him, she has an affair with a younger man who fuels her lust for life

Driven to murder her husband, she is convicted of the crime and is executed in the electric chair


"A savage indictment of a hard, soulless world of mechanisation and money worship ... Beckett, Pinter and Mamet are pre-echoed in the staccato telegraphese, nagging rhythms and jangly repetition of dialogue ... A masterpiece" ~ Independent

"Machinal is a rare and disturbing beauty... conceived with the kind of tender, probing empathy you associate with the interiority of modernist fiction" ~ New York Times

"Gaspingly intense ... Machinal remains pretty extraordinary stuff ... feels like it could have been written yesterday" ~ Time Out

"A dazzling piece of work ... Machinal has lost none of its cold fury, its expressionistic power to depict a woman trapped by a society that expects her to marry and conform. It is astonishingly modern" ~ WhatsOnStage

"An unforgettable portrait of a particular woman and of America itself as a hellishly dehumanised assembly line" ~ Guardian

"Captivating, intense and resonant ... a fascinating piece, a formally bold and explicitly feminist study of an ordinary woman who snaps under societal pressure ... demonstrates Treadwell's adventurousness as a playwright" ~ The Stage

Browse Library

About Stageplays

Stageplays offers you the largest collection of Plays & Musicals in the world.

Based in the UK and the USA, we’ve been serving the online theatre community since the last century. We’re primarily a family-run business and several of us also work in professional theatre.

But we’re all passionate about theatre and we all work hard to share that passion with you and the world’s online community.

Subscribe to our theatre newsletter

We'll email you regular details of new plays and half-price special offers on a broad range of theatre titles.


We can deliver any play in print to any country in the world - and we ship from both the US and the UK.

© 2010 - 2024 Stageplays, Inc.