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Friday, January 27, 2012

The U Department of Theatre Presents Elmer Rice's THE ADDING MACHINE February 3-12, 2012 in the Babcock Theatre Directed by Jerry Rapier

 January 24, 2012


CONTACT:       Amy Oakeson
      Communications Specialist, Department of Theatre
      801-581-6406 or amy.oakeson@utah.edu

The U Department of Theatre Presents
February 3-12, 2012 in the Babcock Theatre
Directed by Jerry Rapier

            Have you ever been passed over for a promotion, or gone years without a raise?  Ever felt like murdering your boss? Then meet Mr. Zero, a neurotic, number-crunching accountant who goes to work every day at a monotonous and wearisome job where he’s exploited.  At home, his unsympathetic wife constantly nags him. Mr. Zero is just what his name suggests—a nobody. When the company he’s faithfully worked at for the past twenty-five years informs him that, instead of giving him a promotion, they’ll be giving him the boot and replacing him with a machine, Mr. Zero goes berserk and kills his boss without remorse.  Mr. Zero is convicted and hanged for his crime, but in the afterlife is presented with freedom of choice and opportunities unlike anything he’s experienced.  Will he improve his existence, or will fear hold him back, stuck in a rut, doomed to repeat his decisions?   
            Jerry Rapier, Producing Director of Plan-B Theatre, directs the University of Utah's gripping production of Elmer Rice's THE ADDING MACHINE, playing February 3-12 in the Babcock Theatre.

            Originally written in 1923, THE ADDING MACHINE is Elmer Rice's experiment in expressionism. The play is an American classic—a heartbreakingly brilliant tale about the life of a middle class worker. The themes explored are incredibly relevant to today's technologically advanced society. Written before the dawn of computers, the play presented a frightening view of society's future—if technology continued its rapid advancement, the human worker would become obsolete.

            THE ADDING MACHINE has found an even greater resonance in recent times. Today, technology has become such a crucial part of our daily existence with ever-present labor-displacing technology. Self-service grocery checkout lanes replace clerks, ATM machines replace bank tellers, and automated airline kiosks replace ticket agents. The driving force behind many technological advances is the elimination of labor. Each discarded job means improved productivity and reduced cost. But what does this mean for the millions of people who are currently out of work, and whose jobs aren't likely to come back?
            Mr. Zero's struggle to cope with the intimidating force of advancing technology and its impact on the meaning of life is something we wrestle with today. How will humanity survive in an ever increasingly dehumanized atmosphere? Says Rapier, "…the play feels as though it was written about us, now. In an election year where Occupy Wall Street has reached every corner of the country and the chasm between corporate America and the working classes feels unbridgeable, the play feels very much like a cautionary tale for our time."

            Rapier is thrilled to be working on the play. "As far back as I can remember, I have loved the unabashed theatricality of THE ADDING MACHINE. It's beenexciting to explore the heightened expressionistic style—something that both contemporary audiences and actors aren't all that familiar with."

            THE ADDING MACHINE will bepresented in the Babcock Theatre February 3-12 at 7:30 PM with additional matinees on February 11 and 12 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $20 for General Admission, $15 for University of Utah Faculty and Staff, and free for University of Utah students with a valid U Card under the new U and the Arts initiative. Tickets are $7.50 for all other students with valid ID. Individual tickets and Season Flexpasses for the U Department of Theatre’s season can be obtained now by calling 801-581-7100, online at www.kingsburyhall.org, or at the Performing Arts Box Office, located at Kingsbury Hall.

High-resolution publicity photos will be available at www.theatre.utah.edu on January 24, 2012.


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