RUR - Rossum's Universal Robots - Karel Čapek 1939 Bumper Sticker
U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)" by Karel Čapek (1890-1935). "Marionette Theatre presents RUR. Remo Bufano director." R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) is a science fiction play in the Czech language by Karel Čapek. It premiered in 1921, and is noted for introducing the term "robot." The play begins in a factory that makes 'artificial people' – they are called "robots", but are closer to the modern idea of androids or even clones – creatures who can be mistaken for humans, that can think for themselves. Although they seem happy to work for humans, that changes and leads to the end of the human race due to a hostile robot rebellion. After finishing the manuscript, Čapek realized that he had created a modern version of the Jewish Golem legend. He later took a different approach to the same theme in War with the Newts, in which non-humans become a servant class in human society. The play premiered in Prague in 1921. It was translated from Czech into English by Paul Selver, and adapted for the English stage by Nigel Playfair in 1923. A more modern (1990) translation in English is available in Toward the Radical Center: A Karel Čapek Reader, published by Catbird Press. Basil Dean produced R.U.R. in April 1923 for the Reandean Company at St. Martin's Theatre, London. The play's U.S. premier was at the Garrick Theatre in New York City in October 1922, where it ran for 184 performances. It also played in Chicago and Los Angeles during 1923. In one American production, Spencer Tracy played one of the robots, in one of his earliest roles. R.U.R is dark but not without hope, and was successful in its day in both Europe and the United States. Introduction Helena, the daughter of the president of a major industrial power, arrives at the island factory of Rossum's Universal Robots. She meets Domin, the General Manager of R.U.R., who tells her the history of the company. It started in 1920 when a man named Rossum came to an island to study marine biology and accidentally discovered a chemical that behaved exactly like protoplasm, except that it didn't mind being knocked around. The chemical was discovered in 1932. Rossum attempted to make a dog and a man and failed. His nephew came to see his Uncle, and the two argued nonstop, largely because Old Rossum only wanted to create animals to prove that there was not only no God necessary but no God at all, and Young Rossum only wanted to make millions. Eventually, Young Rossum locked his uncle in a laboratory to play with his monsters and mutants, while Young Rossum built factories, and cranked out Robots by the thousands. By the time the play is set (in the 1950s or 1960s, presumably), Robots are cheap and available all over the world. Robots are now becoming necessary, as it is revealed that things are now a fifth the cost because of Robots. Helena meets Fabry, Dr. Gall, Alquist, and Hallemeier, and reveals she is a representative of the League of Humanity, a human rights organization that wishes to "free" the Robots. The managers of the factory find this a ridiculous proposition, viewing the Robots as any other major appliance. One of the things Helena requests is that the Robots get paid so that they can buy things they like, but the Robots don't like anything. Helena is eventually convinced of what a waste of money the League Of Humanity is. Domin and Helena fall in love and are engaged to be married. Act One Ten years later, Helena and her nurse Nana are talking about current events; in particular the decline in human births. Helena and Domin reminisce about the day they met, and summarize the last ten years of world history as shaped by the new worldwide Robot-based economy. Helena meets Dr. Gall's new Robot experiment, Radius, and Dr Gall describes his experimental Robotess, Robot Helena. Both are more advanced, fully featured versions. In secret, Helena burns the formula required to create Robots. The revolt of the Robots reaches Rossum's island as the act ends. Act Two The characters sense that the very universality of the Robots presents a danger. Reminiscent of the Tower of Babel, the characters discuss whether creating national Robots who were unable to communicate beyond their language group would have been desirable. As Robot forces lay siege to the factory, Helena reveals she has burnt the formula. The characters lament the end of humanity, and defend their actions despite their imminent deaths as a direct result. Robots storm the factory and kill all the humans, except for Alquist, whom the Robots spare because they recognize that "he works with his hands like the Robots". Act Three Years have passed and all humans had been killed by the robot revolution except for Alquist. Alquist has been working to recreate the formula to make robots. Because he is not a scientist, he has not made any progress. He has begged the robot government to search for surviving humans and they have done so. There are no other surviving humans. Officials from the robot government approach Alquist and first order and then beg him to complete the formula, even if it means he will have to kill and dissect other Robots to do so. Alquist yields, to kill and dissect, which completes the circle of violence begun in Act Two. Alquist is disgusted by it. Robots Primus and Helena develop human feelings and fall in love. Playing a hunch, Alquist threatens to dissect Primus and then Helena; each begs him to take themselves and spare the other. Alquist realizes that they are the new Adam and Eve, and gives charge of the world to them. Karel Čapek (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarɛl ˈtʃapɛk]) (January 9, 1890 – December 25, 1938) was one of the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. He introduced and made popular the frequently used international word robot, which first appeared in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) in 1921. Karel credited his brother, Josef Čapek, as the true inventor of the word robot. The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was a New Deal project to fund theatre and other live artistic performances in the United States during the Great Depression. It was one of five Federal One projects sponsored by the Works Projects Administration (WPA). The FTP's primary goal was employment of out-of-work artists, writers, and directors, with the secondary aim of entertaining poor families and creating relevant art.