Niles West To Perform “Machinal” This Weekend


Sammy Butera

The Niles West Theatre Department holds the community performance of "Machinal."

By Nicole Zelazko, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Niles West Theatre Department will be performing “Machinal” this upcoming weekend, their last regular show before the annual spring musical. The shows are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at both 4:00 and 7:30 p.m.. Tickets will be $5 for theatre students, $7 for regular students, and $10 for all others.

Machinal follows the life and execution of a young, female stenographer who murders her husband, prompting her to go to the electric chair. Despite her hatred of him, the main character marries her boss, leading her into a life of despair and discomfort. Though replete with stylistic elements, the show is both universal and abstract. A key factor of the show is that no characters are named in an aim to intensify the audience’s ability to identify with each character.

“The show stands for every woman in every place at every time. We put an emphasis on trying to make everything look monotone and together, since we wanted it to impact every single person that saw it,” senior stage manager and crew lead Milton Guendica said. “The design process itself was interesting- we got to try new things, such as Adagio, which ended up playing a key role in the show.”

The show is different from other Niles West productions. Though behind the scenes during “Rent” last year, guest director Hannah Yeager was given the opportunity (from theater department head Andy Sinclair) to both choose and direct a show. Yeager finds it refreshing to work alongside a strong support system and finds the school-wide support for the program both rare and refreshing.

“‘Machinal’ is a story that I relate to a lot, as do a lot of woman in many different ways. Everybody could relate to feeling trapped and not understood and hurt and abused, and then loved, and then dropped,” Yeager said. “Everyone feels that.”

Senior and ensemble member Riley Pranian understands the importance of performing a show that speaks to the role of male dominance over a woman’s life at this controversial time in politics. She finds it important to continue the conversation of speaking out and saying something when seeing the wrong doings of powerful figures. Through playing multiple characters, Pranian learned to adapt to each perspective of the show.

“We were given so much time to create our own moments, forcing us to be innovative and create those moments ourselves, rather than having someone to tell us what to do, which challeneged us as artists to make our own work,” Pranian said. “Though each character evoked a different emotion, each person can connect to the feeling of being trapped. We hope this show helps them find how to get out.”