Like tens of thousands of Americans, I spent Monday night watching two hours and forty-five minutes of robots!
Mac’s new play (which he generously invited me to) is a loose adaptation of Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) that mixes Capek, his contemporaries, and real-life Twentieth Century history into the narrative. Mac is at the top of his game here; the play deftly handles issues of faith and prayer, robot ethics, and the first stirrings of the second World War. Hitler’s Germany essentially killed the real life Capek. Mac’s play has robots fighting Nazis!
This is a truly epic play performed by a dedicated, wonderful cast. Mac’s previous play Hail Satan (soon to return at the Fringe Festival in August) had a truly stunning close to its first act, changing all expectations for the second. Universal Robots has a multitude of these moments, growing the end of the human race out of breezy talk in a small Prague bar. It works so, so well. I’m really glad I saw it.
Note: Mac’s Universal Robots is not to be confused with a live radio presentation by the same name (and some of the same concepts), currently at Ontological-Hysteric. It is also not to be confused with the Universal Robot Band, creators of one of my favorite disco songs, “Barely Breaking Even.” I’ve got to get some for myself.