The Village Examiner’s Laura Rohrman gives us a sweet writeup!
Very kind note on Universal Robots from Big Jimmy Comtois, who is rapidly becoming one of the godfathers of indie theatre.
It’s simultaneously so dense yet doesn’t feel overstuffed, filled with numerous subplots yet not remotely overwritten, intensely philosophical and thought provoking without once being heavy-handed or didactic, very fun without feeling frivolous. It has the perfect blend of high-minded art and pulpy genre fun.
Very kind note from our friends at Rising Phoenix Rep, passed along by Martin Denton.
Well, we had a wonderful opening weekend, and people are really enjoying the show. You should enjoy it, too!
Our own President of Czechoslovakia, David Lamberton, noticed these signs up on Macdougal street – right outside the theater we were having our dress rehearsal in:
Great minds, we guess…
My thanks to our producer Lanie Zipoy for guest-blogging last week!
One fantastic idea Lanie brought to the production is the idea of using Manhattan Theatre Source’s art gallery space to showcase robot-themed art. Today’s robots come to us from one of our contributors, the marvelous Nick Kuszyk (whose hypnotically awesome website is a must-see). But we can give you a flavor right here:
The Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and Controls Laboratory at University of California-Davis builds robotic models of animals that help them “study biological hypotheses in animal behavior by trying to mimic the behavior of animals.”
A few years ago, they created a Rat Robot. Yes, New Yorkers, you heard that right. Your greatest nightmare. Crispin Glover’s biggest dream.
What is particularly interesting is how the Rat Robots altered their behavior based on the limitations of their environment.
Researchers recorded the behavior of baby rats in enclosed rectangular environments and saw that the rat pups, almost blind and deaf, didn’t move much after hitting the walls of their cages. They decided to build rat-like robots, inject them some software and rules, and see what will come from this. Surprisingly, they saw that their robots didn’t follow their software rules and started unexpected movements, such as circling the rectangular arena after a shock into a wall. This led them to revisit the original animal data and to conclude that baby rats also had similar behaviors even if they didn’t pay attention to it previously. Now the researchers want to give different sets of rules to their rat-like robots to predict the behavior or more sophisticated robots — and also the rats’ one.
In Universal Robots, Peroutka (played by the wise-cracking, yet very sweet Ben Sulzbach) and Rossum (played by the phenomenal Nancy Sirianni) also discover their creations don’t always follow the rules.
Thanks to Ehren Greaseover, the robots panel discussion on February 21st at 3pm now has a slammin’ title: Resistance is Futile: Exploring our Evolving Relationship to Robots in Today’s Wired World.
Our awesome panelists include Dr. Michael L. Littman (Rutgers Laboratory for Real Life Reinforcement Learning (RL^3)), Dr. Yann LeCun (Silver Professor of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University), artist Dan Paluska (http://plainfront.com )and Tammy Oler, a sci-fi fan and freelance journalist. We’re lucky to have that much brain power in one room at Manhattan Theatre Source.
BTW, it’s Lanie, the producer, guestblogging for Mac, the playwright.
This one from Technovelgy.com comes to us from our very own incarnation of Karel Capek, David Ian Lee.
As brilliant as Garnet Hertz‘s invention is, it’s also fairly disturbing. Before this morning, I would have said that the only advantage we humans have over cockroaches is that we can control robots and they can’t. A cockroach-robot alliance doesn’t bear thinking about.
We need to make sure the ninjas have whatever they want. This is not the time to alienate our allies.