By: Srinidhi Ananth and Neha Tailigeri
On November 17, 18, and 19, North’s theatrical department will put on the year’s fall drama, “The Adding Machine,” by Elmer Rice. Robert Corriveau, the co-advisor of the drama, describes “The Adding Machine” as a cautionary tale about machines replacing human labor in the workforce. The protagonist Mr. Zero, played by Jon Watkins, is an accountant in the 1920s who spends his days sitting across from a woman called Daisy who he secretly loves. However, Zero is suddenly laid off in favor of a much more efficient adding machine. The drama follows Zero’s journey as he faces the consequences of his violent reaction to his replacement.
Nicole Potenza, who plays Daisy, believes that this year will be very different from last year’s drama, “The Odd Couple.” “‘The Adding Machine will be much less literal. It’s an expressionist play: it’s very abstract and the message in the show is more important than the actual plot,” said Potenza. With just a few plain chairs, tables, and benches, the sets this year are simple and open-ended to give the audience just enough for them to fill in the blanks themselves. “The audience will definitely think it’s weird at first,” Corriveau said, “but in the end, using a more impressionistic feel will invoke a certain feeling, which they’ll eventually appreciate.”
The characters themselves also reflect the undefined nature of the show. Very few characters even have their names mentioned, and these few names are usually just numbers or titles. Characters were written to parallel the attitudes and mindsets of the 1920s: the women spend all their time gossiping when they aren’t doing housework and the men are stubborn and ignorant, dirty both in appearance and behavior. “It’s like playing a cardboard cutout labeled ‘1920s woman’: you have to be the cutout, but the audience doesn’t want to watch cardboard, so you have to try and make her somewhat interesting and relatable, ” said Potenza.
This year’s fall drama is definitely something worth seeing in person, with the cast and crew of this year’s show primed and ready for another addition to a proud tradition of excellent theatre at North.