Robotic theater: future or reality?

By Dailyfinreport - October 20, 2020

 What does any actor dream about? Of course, about the Oscars. A brilliant role, worthy of a reward, can be expected a lifetime. But we would advise the actors to hurry up. Robots have already made their way into theaters. RoboThespian is the world's first mechanized actor that theaters can already buy for a troupe. RoboThespian was developed by the English company Engineered Arts. 


The word "robot" appeared in English in 1921, when Karel Čapek released a science fiction play, although the writer hardly expected that after almost a century robots would become full participants in the stage action.

Initially, the RoboThespian robot was not created to replace the actors themselves, but as a kind of guide, the use of which allows you not to pay extra to a person who invites spectators before each performance, addresses them with general information about the performance or offers programs.

The first batch of RoboThespian robots consisted of only 15 pieces and instantly sold to theaters, universities and museums. It turned out that a robot is an irreplaceable thing if you need to give a presentation and a short tour. RoboThespian can be programmed to respond in a pattern. The robot will remember the necessary information and will reproduce it, while making minimal gestures and moving around. He can speak in different languages. In order to use it on stage in some kind of performance, you can dress it up in a costume.

Formats for using robots in the theater

The first appearance of robots on the stage as actors took place in 2008: on November 25 in Osaka, Japan, two androids played together with people a 20-minute play "I, a Worker" based on the play by Japanese playwright Oridza Hirata.

In the same year, robotic androids Thomas and Janet played in the Taiwanese production of The Phantom of the Opera. The actors sang, read dialogues and even made the first kiss of the humanoid robots.

And in 2009, Snow White with artificial intelligence (robot EveR-3) danced in the Korean production of Robot and the Seven Dwarfs.The world's first robot theater opened in 2010 in Warsaw. Robots made by Engineered Arts are performing there.

There are no fully robotic performances yet. One of the striking examples of the use of artificial intelligence in the framework of the theater is the play "Evil Valley" by Francesca Talenti. The plot is based on the story of a man who agrees to upload his personality inside a robot in exchange for money. RoboThespian was involved in the play. The novice director himself admitted that working with the robot was not so easy. All because of the untimely reaction and excessive unnaturalness of actions.

Another format for using robots in the theater is a one-man show. It is more popular because it eliminates the need for the robot to interact with real people. For example, the Theater of Nations in Moscow shows the same play "The Evil Valley". True, in the interpretation of director Stefan Kegi, there is only a robot on the stage that delivers a monologue.

Other uses for RoboThespian robots

While experiments with robotic actors are numbered in units. The directors abandon the idea of ​​replacing the lively emotions and feelings of the actors with artificial intelligence. So a theater with robots is still the future. And the real RoboThespian is working in museums, cultural centers and so on. The robot is very useful there. Humanoid robots help attract more visitors and make any cultural venue more interactive.

How much does a robot actor cost?

Perhaps the high price of RoboThespian is one of the key factors that is stopping directors so far. One robot costs more than $ 80,000, while a standard play may require about ten actors. There are also analogues on the market: Asimo robots. However, their functionality cannot be compared with what neither RoboThespian nor, moreover, live actors do on stage.

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