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Caroline Haydon plays Daisy Diana Dorothea Devore with Mark Macey as Mr. Zero in the U Department of Theatre's production of Elmer Rice's play "The Adding Machine." Directed by Plan-B Theatre Company's Jerry Rapier, it runs Feb. 3-12 in the Babcock Theatre. Credit: Gary Oakeson
Not-so-simple math
Utah theater » U. theater department teams with Plan-B’s Jerry Rapier for “cautionary tale of our time.”
First Published Feb 02 2012 08:56 am • Last Updated Feb 02 2012 08:56 am

What, pray tell, does a play about a middle-class accountant with a nagging wife who finds himself fired for a machine have to do with our current times?

Just about everything, of course.

At a glance

‘The Adding Machine’

When » Feb. 3-12, 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees Feb. 11 and 12.

Where » Babcock Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City.

Tickets » $7.50-$20 at the door. Call 801-581-7100 or visit kingsburyhall.org for more information.

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So the powers that be at the University of Utah’s theater department have teamed with Jerry Rapier, Plan-B Theatre Company’s producing director, to revive Mr. Zero in Elmer Rice’s 1923 warhorse of expressionist theater, "The Adding Machine." Penned long before our day of automated and online everything, the play speaks to the hard fact that human fear in the face of economic realities remains pretty much eternal. Rice’s work "feels as though it was written about us, now," Rapier states in press materials. "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." The big shadow of relevance aside, theatergoers are sure to revel in the peerless feel Rice has for ramping up the expressionist style to the nth degree. Not a play for those recently laid off, then, but a play for all time nonetheless.

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