As part of its Fall 2012/Spring 2013 Performing Arts Season, Japan Society proudly presents Seinendan Theater Company and Osaka University's Robot Theater Project, a double bill of one-act plays written and directed by Oriza Hirata. Co-presented with the Japan Foundation, this production plays three performances at Japan Society during a six-city North American tour. Performances at Japan Society (333 East 47th Street) are Thursday, February 7, Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9 at 7:30pm (running time: 75 minutes including intermission).
Oriza Hirata, founder of Japan's celebrated Seinendan Theater Company, imagines a time in the near future when robots are commonly found in family households and function as much more than servants. This captivating, heartrending double bill of the short plays Sayonara and I, Worker was developed in collaboration with Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro, a leading international researcher on robotics and Director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University.
In Sayonara, featuring android and human actors, an android is bought to console a girl suffering from a terminal illness, but when its mechanics go awry, the meaning of life and death to humans and robots comes into question. This short play is performed by two human actors and Geminoid F -- a humanoid robot that looks identical to the woman it was modeled after, developed by a laboratory led by Dr. Ishiguro. A compelling fusion of theater arts and science, Sayonara was created in 2010. Its premier incarnation received honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica 2011 in the Interactive Art category. Since then, a new scene in which the android faces a new mission was added as a reflection upon the nuclear disaster caused by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami. Sayonara will be performed in English and Japanese with English subtitles.
In I, Worker, featuring robots and human actors, a husband's struggle to cope with the loss of his child is juxtaposed with the malaise of one of his robots, which has lost all motivation to work. Created in 2008, I, Worker is the first full-scale robot-human theater production born of the collaboration between Oriza Hirata and Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro. I, Worker grapples with the concept of 'work' and what it means to both humans - and robots. I, Worker will be performed in Japanese with English subtitles.
Seinendan Theater Company and Osaka University's Robot Theater Project features performers: Geminoid F (Sayonara), Bryerly Long (Sayonara), Hiroshi Ota (Sayonara and I, Worker), Minako Inoue (I, Worker and voice/motions of Geminoid F in Sayonara) and Robovie R3 (I, Worker).