This darkly comic, expressionistic masterpiece follows the exploits of Mr. Zero, a hard-working, pseudo-Everyman as he toils through his rather inconsequential existence working at a Macy's-like department store. When he discovers that after 25 years of determined dedication on his job, he will be fired and replaced by a machine, Mr. Zero kills his boss. His murderous deed leads to a further dehumanization: Before his execution, Mr. Zero is put on display for sightseers to marvel at, the “North American Murderer.” But death isn’t the end: Mr. Zero meanders through the afterlife, unable and unwilling to learn from the consequences of his actions, until a worse fate is hoisted upon him. A touchstone of American expressionism, Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine creates an enigmatic anti-hero and a bleak critique of the society that has made him.
The Adding Machine guide sections