Menu
Potassium lowers blood pressure

Potassium lowers blood pressure

For those with high blood...

A month ot sandwich recipes

A month ot sandwich recipes

The sandwich is incredibl...

These dishes are BEST served cold

These dishes are BEST served cold

Every year, between Memor...

Baking master cakes are too good to eat

Baking master cakes are too good to…

Recently, a viral video h...

Popcorn flour makes best cornbread

Popcorn flour makes best cornbread

There is a solid chance t...

Ice cold coffee beverages

Ice cold coffee beverages

While some of us have hel...

Building a better taco

Building a better taco

Grilled tacos are one of ...

French girl's guide to eggs

French girl's guide to eggs

For one of the most versa...

What chef's cook for their kids

What chef's cook for their kids

Under normal circumstance...

Prev Next
Restaurant lunch highlights:

Art & About: RUR Rossum’s Universal Robots

Art & About: RUR Rossum’s Universal Robots

RUR Robots challenge man's authority

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

In Karel Čapek's, RUR Rossum's Universal Robots now in its last week of production at the Acrosstown Repertory Theater, there is a variation on a theme. The example could have been the famous story of John Henry taking on the steam-driven railroad pile-driving machine. Or better yet, what about The Terminator movies where the all-powerful terminator runs roughshod over all of us.

080415KapekČapek's play gave birth to the term robot and is about robots winning a chance at world domination. The play might not have the sexiness of a steel-driving man or the awesomeness of a glazed stare from a giant among men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, however the setting of the play, an island where robots were being manufactured daily, was about to undergo a world-changing emanicipation.

Written in 1920 by a Czech playwright, Rossum's Universal Robots or R.U.R examines the dark side of what could go wrong if robots do all the work, and humans are completely free to pursue other things "such as perfecting themselves rather than toiling long days just for bread." This sounds good in theory but of course, the deeper sentiments behind this play are a statement about society, humanity, genetic engineering, industrial efficiency, and even governments and war.

Enter Helen Glory – played by Heather Uuk – sent by the Humanity League on a mission to gain better living conditions for the robots. Helena knows that when the robots begin to act strangely, as they sometimes do, they are destroyed and their parts are used to make new robots, but she is dismayed to find that the robots she meets and talks with in the factory do not care whether they are killed or are starved. They think of nothing but their work.

It was somewhat unclear but it appeared Rossum Factory Manager Harry Domin - played by Loic Robertson - must have slipped a little robot juice in Helena's drink because, just like that, all of a sudden we are swept ten years into the future with the robots uprising to get their revenge and take over island and rule mankind and the world.

A Diabolical Helena is still on the island with the appearance of just another obedient machine, er, uh, woman. But not so quick -- Radius - played by Hunter Finley -,  a robot that has challenged the island's robot masses to take over the island to finally claim what is rightfully theirs. Helena buys into the robots plans and conspires to help overturn the fundamental manufacturing processes to free the robots.

Phew, it took a while for me to write that synopsis. It took even longer for RUR's plot line to work toward an ah-ha moment for me.

080615RURposterA bare bones set of chairs and small stage implies the play is set in the tallest tower of the island headquarters of Rossum's Universal Robots. Director – Gabriel Hughes-Trinity -- was left with literally nothing but dialog to convey the plight of the humans in this man vs. machine allegory. It was a tough assignment with few plot points and most of them appeared after the intermission.

RUR General Manager Harry Domin was presented as a confident, self-assured administrator driving his corporation toward world supremacy only to have his dreamr destroyed by his own greed and ambition.

All the stereotypical personas of success, wealth, power, and dominations were clearly demonstrated in the other characters of RUR from the bean-counting accountant Consul Busman – played by Mandalyn Fugate – who was unconcerned with the end of the world as she knew it because she had a plan to escape the island, to 'mad scientist' Dr Gall – played by Chuck Lipsig -- Rossum's resident 'psychologist' who understood the needs of the robots that conflicted with all of his human ideals and upbringing.

The ending of RUR is a reconciliation of all the rights and wrongs delivered by several longer than necessary soliloquies

Kudos to Heather Uuk for allowing her female protagonists to keep this play moving forward. Helena was the character with the play's life-changing action. Sure her motives might have been diabolical, and of course I was pulling for Helena to win the man-against-machine battle that was the main plot. But I did like the irony of not really knowing which side she was on until she sets fire to the basic tenets of good, bad, right, wrong, man, or machine otherwise known as the RUR Robot Recipe.

Thom Dunn's review at TOR.com synopsizes RUR much better than I: "The central philosophical idea of the play is whether or not these 'robots' are in fact less than human, simply because they were born (or created) under different circumstances. This of course remains a popular theme in more recent stories involving robotics. But in the case of RUR, the question seems to be less about artificial intelligence and more about issues of class."

RUR Rossum's Universal Robots continues at the Acrosstown Repertory Theater with shows through August 9. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more show information.

 

Last modified onFriday, 07 August 2015 05:35
back to top

Joomla! Debug Console

Session

Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries