The Adding Machine
by Elmer Rice

Elmer Rice - The Adding Machine

BBC Radio 3: Drama On 3

Broadcast: Sunday 2nd March 2008 @ 8:00 p.m.

BBC Radio 3 revives what is regarded by many as the first American Expressionist play. Set somewhere between social realism and a surreal dystopia, "The Adding Machine", by Elmer Rice, is a surprising and entertaining play sitting squarely between comedy and tragedy. This play helped re-define drama, and speaks to the increasingly depersonalised world and the isolation of technology even more today than it did when it was first produced.

Written in 1923, "The Adding Machine" is a prescient Expressionist classic about a man stunted by the inexorable rhythm of his work and also by the technology that threatens to displace him from it. Mr Zero has spent the last 25 years endlessly adding up columns of figures and dreaming of advancement. But when the boss finally calls him into his office, Zero doesn't get the promotion he was expecting. Overwhelmed by the soul-crushing weight of his life at work and at home, Zero commits an impulsive act of violence, thus beginning his journey to heaven, hell and places between and beyond.

Elmer Rice was a theatrical pioneer and social campaigner. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for "Street Scene", about life in the slums, and continued writing plays until 1958, commenting on the American Depression, Soviet Russia, and the rise of Fascism.

With Nathan Osgood [Mr. Zero], Rebecca Front [Mrs. Zero], Gina Bellman [Daisy], John Rogan [Mr. Shrdlu], Danny Sapani [Lieutenant Charles / The Head], Peter Marinker [Mr. One / Boss], Liza Sadovy [Mrs. One], Chris Pavlo [Mr.Two / Joe], Liz Sutherland [Mrs. Two / Judy], and Ben Crowe [Young Man / Policeman].

Produced by Steven Canning and Abigail le Fleming

75 min.


Back to top


Radio Plays
Wine Making
Cosby Methodist Church
Gokart Racing
Links to other sites
Sitemap xml
Contact Us