Review: SCPA students perform sci-fi play 'R.U.R.'

Kim Estenson, Colerain High SchoolTechnology advances so fast in the modern world that each new innovation is quickly outdated. The School for Creative and Performing Arts’ performance of “R.U.R.” (“Rossum’s Universal Robots”) not only addressed this, but further proposed the unsettling question of whether humans will ever become outdated by their own inventions. This all-too-real science fiction production explored both the positive and evil sides to humanity and also just how inhumane technology can cause people to become.

This 1920 play was written by Karel Kapek, and originally drafted in the Czech language. Although it was a response to the age of machines and also the political and economic unrest in Europe of the era, it has an eerie resemblance to how people still often do not question a technology run world. This play follows Henry Domin an industrial and unrepentant leader of Rossum’s Robots, a corporation which mass produces robots and ships them internationally. In addition, “R.U.R.” follows the few other inhabitants of the factory and how they respond to the increasing unrest of the robot population.

The actors in this play should be applauded for individually creating such different and unique characters through acting choices such as specific mannerisms, and also playing off of one another well. In addition, actresses such as Mallory Kraus and Tess Greweling who performed the parts of Fabry and Dr. Gall stood out in their seemingly effortless ability to play roles of the opposite gender. Olaf Eide who played the part of Harry Domin was a strong leading man through immense detail dedicated to show how his character increasingly grew more anxious of robot unrest. The ensemble of robots was impressive by their universal methods of mechanical movement. Lastly, Cameron Baker in her performance of Alquist was touching in his role as the last human, showing expertise in utilizing the unique thrust stage to address all angles of the surrounding audience.

Technical expertise was supervised by stage manager Maggie Hoffecker. The lighting operated by Scott Neal was seamless, and well-timed so as to keep the audience immersed in the world of “R.U.R.” In addition, although set changes at times could be long, they were unique in how the robots stayed in character as they obediently transformed the set. The makeup had specific purpose in assisting the audience in identifying who was and wasn’t a human. Also, the futuristic bright blue eye shadow on the people suggested an inhuman affect caused by the spread of technology.

Through both technical and acting excellence, the School for Creative and Performing Arts put on an impressive performance of” R.U.R.” Both the actors and crew of this production told a dark and foreboding tale which warned its audience to cling to what makes them human. Attributes such as the ability to love should be endured in order to avoid people from forfeiting their souls to technology.

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