Full Length Play
120 minutes (2 hours)
Settings Of Play - The offices of a large faceless company.
The house of Mr. & Mrs. Zero.
The Elysian Fields.
FEATURES / CONTAINS
Unit Set/Multiple Settings
College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
RECOGNITION / AWARDS
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Elmer Rice.
Mr. Zero is an accountant at a large, faceless company. After twenty-five years at his job, he discovers that he will be replaced by an adding machine. In anger and pain, he snaps and kills his boss. Mr. Zero is then tried for murder, found guilty, and hanged, only to wake up in a heaven-like setting known as the "Elysian Fields." Mr. Zero then begins to operate an adding machine until the boss of the Elysian Fields tells Zero that he is a waste of space and his soul is going to be sent back to Earth to be reused. The play ends with Zero following a very attractive girl named Hope offstage. During the whole series of this episodic journey, Mr. Zero is surprisingly oblivious to his deepest needs, wants, and desires.
"Elmer Rice's 1923 expressionist satire seems abrasively modern in its attack on the dehumanising effect of industrial capitalism [...] Rice's play has left its impact on a wide variety of works, from Chaplin's Modern Times to Tony Kushner's Angels in America. But what is striking is the bilious inclusiveness of its attack on a machine-driven society that not only exploits its workers, but robs them of their souls." - The Guardian
The Adding Machine opened on Broadway at The Garrick Theatre in 1923, and ran for seventy-two performances.