Cappies critics review SCPA's performance of 'Rossum's Universal Robots'

Ashley Boggs, Loveland High School

One talented actor in the show was Olaf Eide who portrayed the role of Harry Domin. Eide was well heard while on stage and seemed to know his lines perfectly. He had a great deal of high energy and never went on stage unnoticed. Olaf also worked well with other actors and actresses, especially Drue Larkin who played Helena. The two had excellent chemistry together on stage. Larkin did a wonderful job portraying the concerned humanitarian throughout the show, and effortlessly transitioned into playing the robot version of herself towards the end of the show. Larkin also had amazing facial expressions throughout the production as a human and a robot.

Ryley Arnold, William Mason High School

Izzy Viox’s hilarious portrayal of the religious voice-of-reason Nana provided the audience with much needed comic relief throughout the show. The Robots had a very stylistic manner of speech and physicality that was beautiful executed by the cast. The ensemble was able to portray the robots in such a way, while also bringing a strong emotional side to the machines. Caleb Leonard as the revolutionary robot Radius and Jeremias Santarelli as the emotionally-driven robot Primus were able to show perfectly both sides of the machines.

Hailey Spencer, William Mason High School

Drue Larkin and Jeremias Santarelli conquered the task of portraying Robot Helena and Primus robots that fall in love, tackling the challenge of portraying a massive character arc within an incredibly short amount of time. In a powerful moment between the two, they proved that robots are more human than humans themselves; the human race in “R.U.R.” had become materialistic and corrupt, and it was time for a new start.
Cameron Baker’s portrayal of Alquist, a human that came to realize the immorality of the production and oppression of robots, was honest and provided a stark contrast to the greedy and deluded humans around him. His performance made the loss of his friends and his sanity all feel incredibly personal.

Phillip Lunt, Cincinnati Christian Schools

Another standout supporting role was Radius, played by Caleb Leonard. His unyielding pursuit of robot domination and his lack of any emotions other than anger were not only invigorating, but also chilling.
As far as the technical elements of the play are concerned, the School for Creative and Performing Arts exquisitely and smoothly created a seamless atmosphere for viewing. Lighting was subtle and accurate, but also portrayed intense emotion and flare at appropriate moments. The sound was spot on in its timing of the effects.  The prop crew had a challenging job of creating a 20th century atmosphere with futuristic element as well, which they handled excellently.

Arielle Lewis, St. Ursula Academy

As a whole, the cast’s energy and the inventive concepts anchored the play, showing much energy and passion for creating this production. Also, the unique concept of having human-like robots played a strong role in setting the atmosphere for the play.

Of all the wonderful technical aspects, the makeup and stage crew stand out the most. The makeup was used as a clever way to differentiate who was human and who was robotic. The stage crew did a fantastic job of illustrating the purpose of using robots to carry out a multitude of duties. Although the scene changes seemed to drag on, the stage crew did a superb job moving props dressed uniformly as robots.

Abi Moore, Highlands High School

Leading the cast with spunk and stage presence was Drue Larkin as Helena. Right from the start, her facial expressions and reactions had loads of energy that spread to every cast member. Even in moments of silence, she kept her character and made strong choices. As her counterpart, Henry, was Olaf Eide. He acted impressively through long, wordy monologues, and possessed a sense of diction that kept the audience intrigued. Together, they became a couple that truly held the cast together.

This production is not only highlighted by the acting, but their technical capabilities as well. The lighting was pristine, yet creative, and showcased the realistic fire light. Also notable was the individualized makeup for each character. The blue eye shadow signifying humanity was both creative and clever.

Lindsey Franxman, Highlands High School

The concept of the show was well conveyed in the technical aspects: whimsy descends into darkness.  The lighting design (Lucas Clark ) was at first naturalistic with warm sepia tones reminiscent of the show “Mad Men,” but eventually descended into dark blues and grays to emphasize the “end of the world.”  The makeup further highlighted characters, giving the robots a metallic sheen and the humans an airy purple eye shadow and faint metallic glow, making

them seem almost like robots themselves as the lighting changed.

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