|Poster for a W.P.A. stage performance of R.U.R., circa 1939|
“Written by Capek 90 years ago, ‘R.U.R.’ is a fascinating vision of a future that is not too far removed from our present. A landmark in the genre of science fiction, ‘R.U.R.’ is the great-grandfather of every novel, film, or TV show in which robots are important aspects of the plot. In fact, it is because of this play, originally written in Czech, that the word ‘robot’ (meaning ‘worker’) became part of the English language. This far-seeing play is more socially relevant now than it was when it was written,” said Conte.
Despite its social relevance today, Conte noted that two words from Capek’s description of “R.U.R.” – “fantastic” and “melodrama” – “are guiding our interpretation of the work. In the 1920s, the melodrama found a home in the exciting new technology of film. Our production embraces this history and the acting style is a replica of the highly emotive and presentational techniques of the melodrama, a style that carried over into the films of the day.”
In addition to the acting style, Douglas Garland’s costume and make-up designs “were developed from the perspective of how a designer in the 1920s film industry might imagine the future, while Sean McIntosh’s set and lighting design are executed in the stark, unsettling style of the German Expressionist silent filmmakers. Of course, as in all movies of the time, music underscores the action in good melodramatic fashion, and we have some terrific music composed especially for this show by Gary DePaolo,” Conte added.
“R.U.R.” will run April 28 through 30 and May 3 through 7 each evening at 7:30 in the Black Box Theatre located in the Gertrude Krampert Theatre Complex. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students ages 5 to 18.
Tickets can be purchased at the Krampert Theatre Complex box office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, by phone at 268-2500, or one hour before each performance, for that performance only.