Sneak Peek at Abbey Players’ Season 70: Machinal and Urinetown

Meghan Schmitt, Culture Editor

The Abbey Players are at it again; the choices for this theatrical season on campus, Machinal and Urinetown, create the year’s spectrum between darkness and absurdity.  

Machinal was created in the early days of American theater.  A play written in 1928 by Sophie Treadwell, this story was inspired by the veritable account of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder.

Snyder was the first woman in the United States to receive the death penalty as punishment for the premeditated murder of her husband.  She was executed by electric chair in January of 1928, and nine months later, Machinal opened on Broadway.

Considered a masterpiece of Expressionist theater, the play is a thrilling tale featuring scandal and horror.  

The Anselmian Abbey Players will perform Machinal on November 8-10, each performance beginning at 7 p.m.

 In a press release given by the Dana Center,  the play will “explore America’s Golden Age: a time of happiness, freedom, and prosperity—or is it?” Tickets will be $14 for faculty and $7 for students.  

The chosen spring semester musical Urinetown, in comparison, is a much more novel and whimsical production.

A 2001 piece written by Greg Kotis, Urinetown is a satirical comedy which pokes fun at elements of municipal government such as bureaucracy, populism, social irresponsibility, and corporate mismanagement.

 Set in a typical small American town, conflict arises due to a water shortage caused by a 20-year drought.  The mayor decides to ban all private restrooms and require that the citizens be charged for using public amenities as their only source of plumbing.

The Abbey Players tease their performance as a “comic and cautionary tale.”  The show will open March 29-30, with a 2:30 pm matinee on March 31, and then conclude the following weekend.  All evening shows will commence at 7:30 pm. Tickets will be $15 for faculty and $7 for students.

These two performances are the only two Abbey Players productions of the year which are not student-written.  The 2018 Family Weekend Show, coming up soon at the beginning of October, was written by senior Kelsey Warner.  In the spring semester, the annual Evening of One Act Plays will feature three screenplays written, directed, and performed by students.   The final student-led performances of the academic year are the Shakespeare scenes which are performed on or near April 24, and the one-night musicale Cabaret.  

As always, the Crier acknowledges the skillful range of the Abbey Players’ work and wishes them all the best for their 2018-2019 season.