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posted: 10/26/2012 3:17 PM

Marriage, motherhood and murder in ECC drama

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  • Elliot Simmons, left, Katrina Syrris, Steve Michalak and Jacque Currie, who portray characters in Elgin Community College Theatre's production of "Machinal."

      Elliot Simmons, left, Katrina Syrris, Steve Michalak and Jacque Currie, who portray characters in Elgin Community College Theatre's production of "Machinal."
    Courtesy of ECC

 
Elgin Community College

Elgin Community College Theatre will explore a young woman's journey from marriage to motherhood to murder during "Machinal," the troupe's fall production that will be held from Friday, Nov. 2, to Sunday, Nov. 18.

Performances will be held in the ECC Arts Center's Blizzard Theatre located in Building H on the Spartan Drive Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, 9, and 16; Saturday, Nov. 3, 10, and 17; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 and 18.

"Machinal" is inspired by the Ruth Snyder murder trial that had gripped the nation in 1927. Sophie Treadwell was a reporter covering the trial, and "Machinal" made its premiere on Broadway within in a year of the infamous trial.

Far from a portrait of the Snyder trial, Machinal tells the story of a young woman's struggle to conform to society's expectations. The monologues from that play struck a chord with director Robert Hines III 84 years later.

"It was a woman's voice in a play I had not heard before," he says. "It was haunting, riveting, and profoundly human.

"The play touched me in a deep emotional place, stirring a profound sense of unrest and wonder that made me want to investigate how the experiences of this young woman's life relates to the human condition today."

Hines says the play is divided into several "episodes" in the life of the unnamed main character. Each episode follows a ritual in the woman's life and the expectations that accompany it, such as working or being married. Throughout it all, the woman is torn between what she is expected to do and what she wants to do.

"What speaks most to me was the power of struggling against the events in our lives that dictates our choices," Hines adds. "When the performance is done, I would like the audience to look through the eyes of this young woman and ask themselves are they being machines in the cog of life or are they making the choices they want to make?"

Members of the cast include Jacque Currie (Elgin), Erin Doody (Westchester), Alisa Goldberg (Algonquin), Marjorie Lattimore (Streamwood), Sonya Madrigal (Elgin), Sarah Merlo (New Castle, Australia), Steve Michalak (Cicero), Rhiann Owen (Algonquin), Vinny Prisco (St. Charles), Stephen Roos (Carpentersville), Nicole Rutkowski (Streamwood), Elliot Simmons (East Dundee), Ronald Smith (Elgin), Katrina Syrris (South Elgin), A.J. Taylor (Algonquin), and Eric Wagner (St. Charles).

Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for students and seniors. Tickets are available online at tickets.elgin.edu or at the ECC box office located in the Arts Center. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Or call (847) 622-0300.

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