Robot actors join humans onstage to explore the meaning of life

At DVICE, we like to explore the nascent culture of human-robot relations, but sometimes the best investigations into emerging cultural issues happen in theatrical settings as opposed to scientific ones. Such is the case with a new production featuring humans acting alongside robots in a play that offers a glimpse of issues we'll all likely have to confront in the coming years.

Written and directed by Oriza Hirata of Japan's Seinendan Theater Company in conjunction with the Osaka University Robot Theater Project, the show consists of two one-act plays. The first is Sayonara, a heart-rending play that features a woman suffering from a fatal illness who decides to explore the meaning of life during a conversation with an amazingly realistic humanoid robot. The second is I, Worker, a surprisingly effective play that explores the relationship between a recently widowed human master and his apparently depressed robot servant.

Initially, the plays might seem like a tech-powered gimmick at best and down right silly at worst. But one look at the trailer and suddenly the chilling reality of emerging human-robot relations becomes apparent, making the value of a theatrical exploration into this murky area obvious. 

The plays are currently touring the East Coast of the U.S. and Toronto, Canada until March, and you can check out footage from a recent performance in the video below. 

Via Japan Society

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook