First Daughter, Helen Spectacular, arrives at the world’s largest robot-producing start-up with a plan to free the robots and grant them human rights. She quickly becomes embroiled in both a love triangle and a secret science experiment that might be what’s causing the robots to revolt. Absurdly comic and existentially chilling, U-R-U examines the societal obsession with progress at all costs and the decreasing worth of humanity in this increasingly artificial world. What happens when we replace humanity with technology? What are we going to lose?
Casting note from the playwright: All characters can be played by actors of any background and ethnicity. Diversity is a necessity in creating this world. Please consider power dynamics: in the play, discrimination happens between robots and humans, but is not based on ethnicity or race. Gender is also flexible (or potentially non-applicable) except where specified in descriptions. Pronouns can be changed.
DOMINATOR… (F, mid 30s-40s) General Manager/CEO of U-R-U. Smarter than she often sounds. A charismatic, fun visionary who is a magnetic and very energetic leader. Millennial Tony Robbins but cooler and less focused. The most brilliant of sales-people. Always moving. Goes after what she wants.
HELEN SPECTACULAR… (F, 22) Passionate, idealistic. Daughter of President Spectacular. Naïve at times, but not stupid.
DR. GALL… (M, 30s) Invested fully in science and quite brilliant, despite lacking confidence. Head of the Physiological and Experimental Department at U-R-U.
DR. HALLIE…(30s) Head of The Institute for Psychological Training of Robots. The coldest, most awkward therapist.
MO(NIQUE)… (late 20s – late 30s) Head of Finances. Values money and the power and authority it gives.
BIG AL… (late 40s – late 60s) Head of Robot Construction, the only one capable of manual labour. Practical.
JO… Robot. The highest grade.
EMILY (VOICE)… Emily is a reactive and full character. Her voice should be live.
ROBOT SIRI (VOICE)
ROBOT HELEN/SEVEN (played by Helen)
ROBOT DOMIN/EIGHT (played by Dominator)
* can be doubled if needed, though it should be made clear that TWO isn’t EMILY through voice/the use of an accent.
OTHER ROBOTS (optional): There is an opportunity to create a robot chorus, if there are the resources and the desire. There can be multiple Martys (it can be interpreted as a model as opposed to just one robot). The robots are very present until the intermission, be it one Marty or ten. We should feel their absence in the second half of the play.
Workshop productions at Occidental College, Los Angeles and Humber College, Toronto, 2018
U-R-U is available through the CPO Website.
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Presentation note from the playwright: This is a comedy about the end of our world. Characters trick and/or distract themselves from noting the gravity of their situation. There is a twisted sense of idealism based on profit, and an irrational confidence that protects and blinds them at once. Until it’s too late. Even after it’s too late. Things tend to happen fast.
Note from PLEDGE: There are ties to R.U.R. by Karel Capek that might be interesting for students, but no knowledge of R.U.R. is needed to understand or produce U-R-U. It’s an apocalyptic comedy and reflection of our times, in the same way that Capek reflected his own.