Is "RUR" (Karel Cepeck) a Good Play?

“RUR” (Rossem’s Universal Robots is a pretty old play-I belive it dates to the late 1920’s. I have never seen it performed…anyone ever seen it? Is it too dated for today?I always like the title-is it the first use of the word “robot”?
I guy I once knew told me he thought the paly a bit silly-what is opinion on the SDMB like?

I knew a woman who had been in a production of it. She hated it.

I have yet to see or read it.

I never saw the play, but I do know it is the origin of the word “robot.”

Apparently Josef , Karel’s brother suggested the term Robot, from ‘Robota’, a Czech work for work or labor. I haven’t read or seen RUR, but I think I’ll at least read the play now. I’ve read ‘War with the Newts’, several times, and enjoyed it, so I suspect RUR might hold up.

I read the book, probably in the late 50’s, and enjoyed it. I’ve never seen the play though.

I re-read it not too long ago (it’s included in an old textbook / anthology with the hard to google name of “Science Fiction/Fact”).

I remember the social interactions (particularly the ones around Domin and Helena falling in love) feeling dated and I’d fear unintentionally comical if performed as a play to many modern audiences.

I read it, and it does not hold up too well, and ultimately ends in one of the worst cliches a science fiction author can commit.

Adam and Eve!

If you’re interested in Capek, read his War with the Newts. It’s much better.

PS: the book is easier to google for if one correctly recalls its title as: Science Fact/Fiction. (cover) :smack:

Was it a terrible sci-fi cliche at the time though?

I was just thinking that. Wonder if it was the first time.

Good OP. I’ve always heard of this play, of course, but I have to admit I’ve never looked into reading it.

It was pretty old even then.

But ultimately, the play really doesn’t hold up at all.

I’ve never seen a production, but I heard a reading once in a high-school drama class, and I know it ends with a “male” and a “female” robot falling in love and being hailed by the last living human as “Adam and Eve.” Which ignores certain basic mechanical problems of sexual reproduction in beings that were not designed with the relevant organs.

See here.

Both that site and the wiki article mention that the robots of the play (stage costuming to the contrary notwithstanding) were more what we would call bio-tech than mechanicals; wiki likens them to Blade Runner’s Replicants, or (new) BSG’s Cylons (or I guess the “androids” in Alien/Aliens). They are assembled, rather than grown, but there’s no reason they could have the appropriate organs included in their schematic (anatomically correct androids). :slight_smile:

How love (as opposed to just sex) is supposed to resolve their problems is harder to explain… unless of course none of the robots had experimented with sex until Primus and (robot) Helena fell in love.

Or Frankenstein’s Monster.

But, given that they were designed and built by humans who put them together in factories and never intended any other mode of production, there is no reason to think they would have any functional reproductive (as distinct from sexual) organs.

Indeed, although the monster was made from actual (dead) people, and presumably would test as every bit as human as anyone else (although a chimera from a DNA perspective).

Oh certainly. The ending of the play is artistic license / deus-ex. Conversely, we could assume the engineers, being ones not to throw away a solution that works, simply copied human organs, and reproduction was an unintended “feature”. :wink:

He vould haff an enormous schvanshtucker!

I saw a college production of it a number of years ago. Actually, I was assigned to write a review of it. It was painful. I have spent the interveening years trying to forget it. Some of the things I do remember were that there was little dialogue. Everyone made speeches. What little dialogue there was served to set up a speech. It was very heavy handed. The badly constructed speeches were for the bad guys and the well constructed speeches were for the good guys. Entrances and exits lacked spontenaity.

As I remember, the director tried to make it a watchable play, but it was an uphill battle, when you saw a character enter, you knew you were in for a speech. By intermission most of the audience had left, which was unfortunate for them because the high point of the show came when a disguised golf cart being use as a futuristic mode of transportation got stuck in reverse and smashed most of the set. I vaguely remember many of the cast and crew cheering behind the scenes.

A friend saw it performed in Prague about 20 years ago. He said it was just OK - no great shakes. If it weren’t for the “robot” coinage it would be utterly forgotten.