Rebecca Hall to debut on 1920s Broadway play 'Machinal'

Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:08am EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When actress Rebecca Hall first read "Machinal," the 1920s play in which she will make her Broadway debut early next year, her reaction was so strong she felt her throat tightening.

Hall's response, and the fact that it was being directed by Briton Lyndsey Turner, convinced the British actress she had to play the young murderess in the drama that hasn't been staged on Broadway in 85 years.

"I don't think I've ever had a more physical response to a piece of writing," said Hall, the star of films such as Woody Allen's 2008 romance "Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona" and this year's Disney-Marvel blockbuster superhero sequel "Iron Man 3."

"I think it is extraordinarily powerful. I think it was way ahead of its time," she added of the play.

"Machinal," a stylized drama that begins previews on December 20 and opens January 16. at the American Airlines theater, was written by American playwright and journalist Sophie Treadwell. It was inspired by the true story of Ruth Snyder, a New York woman who died in the electric chair in the state's Sing Sing prison in January 1928 at the age of 33.

Treadwell covered the sensational trial of Snyder, accused of plotting the murder of her husband in March 1927 with her lover, that sparked a media frenzy later that year.

Hall, 31, plays a young woman who lives in a mechanized, male-dominated world, works in a boring job, marries her insensitive boss, and is trapped in a loveless marriage with a child. She rebels against convention and takes a young lover.

Briton Stephen Daldry directed actress Fiona Shaw in a revival of the play at London's National Theatre in 1993.   Continued...

British actress Rebecca Hall takes part in a panel discussion of HBO's "Parade's End" during the 2013 Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, California, January 4, 2013. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas