Rutgers Theater Company presents "Machinal" through Oct. 8

Cast of "Machinal"The Young Woman longs to fit in. She struggles to carry out her duties in a brutal world, trudging forward and conforming to society’s expectations. She enters into a loveless marriage, reluctantly starts a family and attempts to remain seen but not heard.

Eventually, however, the pressure mounts; the Young Woman attempts to wrangle free to follow her own heart. UItimately, the consequences are swift and violent.

Her story, at turns poignant and provocative, is the focus of Sophie Treadwell’s gritty Machinal, a landmark 1928 Broadway hit loosely based on the sensational trial of Ruth Snyder. The show runs from Friday, September 30, through Saturday, October 8, 2011. Melissa Firlit directs.

Firlit says she believes the title is a “metaphor for the machine of life. Sometimes you submit to it,” and sometimes you raise your voice above the din and rage against the machine, consequences be damned.

Firlit says she feels compassion for the entrapped Young Woman because there seems to be “no other way to have her freedom.” She says more than eight decades on she was inspired by the play’s relevance.

“This woman is saying, ‘I don’t understand why it’s important that I get married or have children,’ ” Firlit explains. “These are the same questions we’re dealing with today. She’s trying to find love and peace.

“This could be any woman,” the director adds. “She feels as if everyone is pulling and wanting something from her, taking her for granted. She is considered an object.”

Machinal runs from Friday, September 30, through Saturday, October 8, 2011, at the Philip J. Levin Theater. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sunday. (No performance Friday, October 7; instead there will be a performance on Tuesday, October 4. The Sunday, Oct. 2, performance is sold out.) Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors and only $15 for students with valid ID. The Philip J. Levin Theater is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. For more information about any Mason Gross event, and to learn more about the 2011-2012 Rutgers Theater Company season, visit or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511.

Media Inquiries: Laurie Granieri, 732-932-7591, ext. 516.