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A robot revolution in Karel Capek's R.U.R.


Photo credit: Chris Ocken



Season 21

Sep 20, 2008–Oct 25, 2008

3829 N. Broadway

The initials stand for Rossum’s Universal Robots. Karel Capek’s 1920 play introduced the word robot” to the world, based on the Czech word for laborer (a fun fact you can use to annoy your friends over dinner).

Forget clunky metal boxes, these robots are genetically engineered humans with the troublesome parts, like needs and desires, omitted. The men of R.U.R. live alongside their constructs on a remote island, closely guarding their secret formula while supplying the world with all the cheap labor it can stand. It runs like clockwork until a beautiful young robot rights activist arrives via her father’s private boat.

Strawdog’s R.U.R. is a major revival … at once horrifying, entertaining and—forgive the cliché—genuinely thought-provoking … everything about this production is right.”

— The Wall Street Journal

The ensemble works together like, well, clockwork--particularly the quintet of socially maladjusted scientists whose reactions to the lovely Helena (Michaela Petro), a human advocate of robot rights, echo the academics smitten by Barbara Stanwyck in Howard Hawks’s Ball of Fire. Miles Polaski’s intricate array of sound and music cues (co-designed with Mikhail Fiksel) adds chilling aural texture; Dan Stratton’s Constructivist-inspired set and Alison Greaves’s period costumes give a deluxe feel to the cramped environment.”

— Chicago Reader


Ryan Bollettino

as Harry Domin

Brennan Buhl

as Busman

Zachary Clark

as Marius

Andrew Gebhart

as Radius

Joe Goldammer

as Primus

Sara Gorsky

as Helena

Carmine Grisolia.

Carmine Grisolia*

as Hallemeier

Jocelyn Kelvin

as Sulla

Nick Lake

as Damon

Anderson Lawfer*

as Fabry

Michaela Petro.

Michaela Petro*

as Helena Glory

Henry Riggs

as Robot Ensemble

John Henry Roberts.

John Henry Roberts*

as Gall

Noah Simon

as Alquist

Rebekah Ward-Hays

as Nanna

Creative Team

Karel Capek

Shade Murray

Adil Mansoor
Assistant Director

Dan Stratton
Set Design

Sam Szigeti
Light Design

Aly Renee Amidei*
Costume Design

Sarah Elizabeth Miller
Props Design

Lily Bartenstein
Ass't Props Design

Mikhail Fiksel
Sound Design

Miles Polaski
Sound Design

Matt Hawkins
Fight Choreographer

Tim Borntrager
Technical Direction

Amber Bel'cher

Erin Carlson
Stage Manager

Connery MacCrae
Master Electrician

Cortney Hurley
Production Manager

* Strawdog Theatre ensemble member