The Adding Machine

Definition

Theater

  • An expressionist play by Elmer Rice, first performedin 1923 in New York. The play is a satire on automation. Rice's anti-hero,Mr Zero, is a book-keeper who represents the average man's dehumanizationby the machine age. He is nagged by his wife, rejected at the officeby the pretty Daisy, and after 25 years of faithful service findshimself replaced by an adding machine. Mr Zero murders his employerand is subsequently tried and executed. In heaven, he meets Daisywho has committed suicide and now confesses her love. However, heis informed by heavenly sources that after a "cosmic laundering"he will be sent back to earth as a mindless machine operator.
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