Eugene O'Neill planned Dynamo as the first part of a trilogy of plays about the ways in which science and modern technology were emerging as a new American religion, while continuing his experimentation with expressionist form. The trilogy was abandoned, however, for the play failed to impress critics and audiences at its opening on 11 February 1929 at the Martin Beck Theatre, and it attained a mere 50 performances.
   Ada Fife, an atheist's daughter, falls in love with Reuben Light, a minister's son. Reverend Light disapproves of Reuben's relationship with Ada, the daughter of his enemy. Angrily, Reuben denounces the faith of his family and leaves home. Attracted to the technological wonders of the day, Reuben makes science his only faith. When Ada seduces him in a hydroelectric plant, he kills her and then ecstatically allows himself to be electrocuted by the dynamo. In her first important role, Claudette Colbert played Ada opposite Glen Anders. Despite Philip Mueller's direction and Lee Simonson's impressive set designs for the hydroelectric plant, the significance of the play's subject was obscured for many critics by its grim plot.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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  • Dynamo — Dy na*mo, n. A dynamo electric machine. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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