This event occurs custom recurrence
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
$11.50 - $24.50

Artwork by Jonathan Wood


By Sophie Treadwell
Directed by MFA Director Laura Di Cicco

Unable to gain financial independence in the 1920s, a young woman is drawn into a loveless marriage with her boss. Machinal explores the societal expectations and restrictions put on women. Driven by desperation for freedom, our protagonist kills her husband. Yet the play refuses to point fingers. Who is to blame? You decide.

Looking at ourselves as a society takes work. We often need to sit in some very uncomfortable realizations about who we are as people. Sometimes, those realizations need to shake us out of our seats in order to force an examination.

I come from an older generation of adults: the end of the baby boomers, the beginning of Generation X. One might argue that the two generations springboarded a kinder, more enlightened society. Or did we?

My parents grew up during the time period that Machinal takes place. It was the Interwar period of the 20th century and it was a time of incredible upheaval and change. Their stories and experiences influenced my interest in social justice. In looking at how they lived and what they experienced, as an artist, I often find myself reflecting on our society today.

During the Interwar period, we saw the rise of several movements: communism, fascism, civil rights, and feminism. Freedoms were being demanded, yet freedoms were also being taken away. The Russian Revolution solidified a communist dictatorship in Russia. The rise of Hitler and Mussolini in the 1920s solidified fascism in Europe. In the United States, Reconstruction was being dismantled in favour of disenfranchisement and segregation. Women in the United States received the vote in 1920. In Canada, the right to vote across the country was granted in 1918, but it was another 11 years before women were officially recognized as “people”. Even then, this status was only granted to white women. Indigenous peoples did not receive the right to vote until 1960.

On an artistic level, extremely creative ideas were emerging and taking place. Expressionism in theatre, while short-lived, was at its peak in the 1920s. It fostered a creative revolution of sorts that revealed artists were thinking seriously about society. Germany was one country where Expressionism took a strong and bold foothold. In reflecting on society, the artist believed in bold and risky imagery that had the purpose of creating societal transformation. Expressionism pushed away Realism and instead chose to focus on the conflicted “inner mind” of the protagonist, revealing a loss of individuality within society.

It is this loss or struggle for identity that is at the heart of Machinal. A woman is unable to live up to the gender roles imposed on her by a white, male-dominated, mechanical society. In this struggle, we also see that she is not perfect: she struggles to find exactly how to be free. In her self-examination, a certain “realism” is able to emerge, while everyone else around her appears merely as robots or mannequins—people who are not quite complete, and who conform to their expected roles in society simply because it is easier to do so than to do the work of challenging authority.

There is a hierarchy in Machinal. There are levels of privilege that all the characters embody. Even the Young Woman herself enjoys a privilege that is lost on her. She is a white woman in a white-dominated society, which is far more privileged than any person of colour or a person whose sexual orientation or identities differ. Her sexual orientation is legal and she does not need to hide her identity, whereas someone with a different identity and orientation would be jailed or even murdered if anyone knew how they identified. The Young Woman also has access to better jobs, education, and healthcare—far more than any person of colour.

I feel that it was this time period that shaped much of the 20th century and continues to have influence now. There are many things that can be learned from this time period by looking at what is comparable. When we see contemporary movements such as #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and #EveryChildMatters, along with the audacious movements of Trumpism and the Alt-Right, can we say much has changed?

Machinal was written in 1928, and I have chosen to keep it in 1928. Given this, I’d like to acknowledge that there are several references in this play that speak to the language and attitudes of that particular time period. While normalized then, such references today would not be considered appropriate. I’d like to thank our cultural consultant, Omari Newton, for his assistance in working with myself and our cast to determine the most suitable way to mount this production. Through careful consideration, we present you with the show you are about to see.

—Laura Di Cicco, Director


Nduduzo Leroy Hikwa — Singer

Ruairi MacDonald — First Man, Reporter 2, Singing Voice, Barber 2, Janitor

Conor Meadows — Husband, Waiter, Passing Feet, Clerk 1, Guard 2

Fiona Jenkins — Telephone Girl, Young Woman, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Clerk 2, Guard 1, A Wife

Robyn Shanks — Mother, Nurse, Dancing Couple, Young Woman, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Reporter 3

Dylan Nouri Bellboy, Doctor, Second Man, Singing Voice, Judge, Priest

Nicolas Olney-Rainville Adding Clerk, Dancing Couple, Stretcher Wagon, Older Man, Passing Feet, Huckster, Prosecuting Lawyer

Blake Buksa Filing Clerk, Young Doctor, Boy, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Bailiff, Young Woman, A Husband

Gabrielle Nebrida-Pepin Stenographer, Young Girl, Woman in Wheelchair, Policeman, Young Woman, Singing Voice, Matron

Belén Quirce — Young Woman, Dancing Couple, Woman in Bathrobe, Girl, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Reporter 1

Isabel Hansen — Small Boy, Young Woman, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Defence Lawyer, Man at Table 1

Isabella LaEsecke — Young Boy, Dancing Couple, Nurse with Basin, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Young Woman

Mai Stone — Wife, Dancing Couple, Extra Man, Passing Feet, Young Woman, Clerk 3, Nurse with Tray

Tirion Jones — Young Woman, A Mother, Dancing Couple, Woman Table 1, Passing Feet, Singing Voice, Jailer, Court Reporter

Laura Di Cicco  Direction

Megan Gilron — Intimacy Direction

Phay MooresIntimacy Direction

Omari Newton — Cultural Consultant

Marlise McCormick Movement Coach

Sheila Langston Vocal Coach

Hallie Marshall Latin Pronunciation Coach

Allie Cao  Scenic Design

Zoe Lin — Asst. Scenic Design

Isabelle Barlow — Scenic Artist

Mira Robinson — Lighting Design

Cheyane SeeAsst. Lighting Design/2nd. Asst. Technical Direction

Olivia Chen — Asst. Projection Design/Asst. Scenic Design

Kai Wong Projection Design

Bekah Lazar — Sound Design/Sound Operator

Zac Labrie Sound Design

Amber Smith Costume Design

Jamie Ragins Asst. Costume Design

Elyse Wall Stage Management

Yuting Yue Asst. Stage Management

Lauren Semple Asst. Stage Management

Hannah Abbott — MFA Technical Direction

David Moise — Asst. Technical Direction

Cassie Gilbert Asst. Production Management

Kelsey Peterson — Run Crew (Fly Op, Revolve Op)

Ben Paul — Run Crew (Stair Master, Costume Lead)

Samantha Cheng — Run Crew

Aaron Au — Run Crew

Joy Cheng — Sound Operator

Emily Chang — Lighting and Projections Operator

Hannah Abbott, Roohi Kamal — Properties

Celeste Mol, Caroline Tang — Costume

Olivia Chen, Crystal Luo, Jamie Ragins, Sofie Fougere, Grycel Tercero, Kelsey Peterson, Kaleigh Funnell, Emma Hamilton, Yena Lee, David Siu, Nina Yu, Saphia Eddie, Cheyane See, Kathleen Boldakin, Isabelle Barlow, Finnley O’Brien, Stephanie Barclay, Madeleine Polak, Betsy Sun, David Moise, Cooper Mortimer, Aaron Au, Hayley Bamford, Ben Paul, Roohi Kamal, Brendan Lowe,
Grace Nguyen, Yun Shim, Mattias Kammueller, Kai Wong, Muleba Chailunga, Joy Cheng, Nyssa Estrella, Zoe Lin, Hallie Nguyen, Huda Shawwash

Stephen HeatleyDepartment Head

Chelsea Haberlin Direction

Patrick Rizzotti  Scenic

Brad Powers Technical Production

Lorraine West Scenic Paint

Robert Gardiner Lighting

Patrick Pennefather Sound

Jacqueline Firkins Costume

Collette Berg Stage Management

Borja Brown — Production Manager

Cam Cronin Department Administrator

Erika Champion — Staff Technical Direction (Lights and Sound)

Ryan Murcar — Staff Technical Direction (Scenic)

Lynn Burton — Head of Properties

Jodi Jacyk — Head of Wardrobe

Tony Koelwyn — Audience Services Manager

Andrea Cheng — Communications Specialist

Jiejun Wu — Marketing and Communications Assistant

Sarah Crauder — Film Program Administrator

Dmitri Lennikov Film Collections Coordinator

Stuart McFarlane — Film Equipment Manager

Ian Patton — Academic Administrator

Karen Tong — Theatre and Film Studies Graduate Secretary

Design Portfolio

Download the program


Wednesday, November 24
7:30 pm

Thursday, November 25–Saturday, December 4
7:30 pm

Student Talk Back
Tuesday, November 30
After the show

No performance on Monday, November 29.


Frederic Wood Theatre
6354 Crescent Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

We acknowledge that the UBC Vancouver campus is situated within the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam.

Ticket Prices

Adult: $24.50 Senior: $16.50 Student: $11.50


For any questions, please contact our box office: 604.822.6835 or