Rebecca Hall Stars in Broadway Drama Machinal

Rebecca Hall Stars in Broadway Drama Machinal

Photo: Joan Marcus for Roundabout Theatre Company

Rebecca Hall makes her Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company’s 1920’s drama Machinal. Hall’s character Helen is listed simply as Young Woman in Machinal’s Playbill, which shows the audience the universality of her problems. Many women in that era felt trapped between two choices: work or wedding. Helen had to choose either marrying her boss who “made her blood run cold” or struggling to support herself and her mother (Suzanne Bertish) on her stenographer salary.

Helen ultimately chooses to marry Mr. Jones (Michael Cumpsty), which leads her further into the depression and insanity she previously experienced when thinking about her lack of options in life. Two of the play’s most powerful scenes—after Mr. Jones’ proposal and after Helen delivers an unwanted baby—are punctuated by episodes of Helen’s stream-of-consciousness ranting.

Photo: Joan Marcus for Roundabout Theatre Company

Throughout the show, costume changes occur so quickly it feels as if there are two actresses playing the lead role. Scenes change just as quickly: the set occupies a revolving platform that spins to display various locales, echoing Helen’s spiraling mental health.

For tickets to Machinal, visit roundabouttheatre.org.

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