In a poignant play traveling throughout the UK, a robot is co-star and companion to the wife of the (now deceased) robot builder, with the wife developing early Alzheimer’s. The play explores very human themes about love, death, and disease, all handled extremely sensitively with RoboThespian playing a large role.
Jon Welch, the writer and director, said of the play:
“It’s a story about a robot maker. All of his life he builds robots, but he develops degenerative illness in mid-life and realizes he’s not going to live to remain a companion to his wife. His wife, by now, is developing early Alzheimer’s, so he builds his final creation, his final robot to be a companion to his wife.”
The robot is from Engineered Arts, a 12-year-old UK company that develops an ever expanding range of humanoid and semi-humanoid robots featuring natural human-like movement and advanced social behaviours. RoboThespian, Socibot and Byrun are their most prominent robot creations.
“We have pre-programmed every single thing the robot says and every single thing the robot does — all the moves. There’s about nearly 400 separate queues but they are made up of other files, all stuck together so there’s probably a couple of thousand cues in reality. So the robot will always say the same thing and move the same way, depending on what queue is been triggered at what particular time.”
This promotional video for the play is well worth watching: