R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
By Karel Čapek

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11 chapters

3 hour read


2 minute read

A Fantastic Melodrama in Three Acts and an Epilogue By Karel Capek English version by Paul Selver and Nigel Playfair Samuel French, Inc. Copyright ©, 1923, by Doubleday, Page and Company ALL RIGHTS RESERVED CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that R. U. R. is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign languages are strictly reserved. In its present form the play is dedicated to the reading public only. R. U. R. may be given stage presentation by amateurs upon payment of a royalty of Thirty-five Dollars for the first performance, and Twenty-five Dollars for each additional performance, payable one week before the date...


1 minute read

The play is laid on an island somewhere on our planet, and on this island is the central office of the factory of Rossum’s Universal Robots. “Robot” is a Czech word meaning “worker.” When the play opens, a few decades beyond the present day, the factory had turned out already, following a secret formula, hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of manufactured workmen, living automats, without souls, desires or feelings. They are high-powered laborers, good for nothing but work. There are two grades, the unskilled and the skilled, and especially trained workmen are furnished on request. When Helena Glory, president of the Humanitarian League, comes to ascertain what can be done to improve the condition of those overspecialized creatures, Harry Domin, the general manager of the factory, captures her heart and hand in the speediest courting on record in our theatre. The last two acts take place ten years later....


31 minute read

By KAREL CAPEK English version by Paul Selver and Nigel Playfair Staged by Philip Moeller Settings and Costumes by Lee Simonson CHARACTERS (in order of appearance) ACT I Central Office of the Factory of Rossum’s Universal Robots ACT II Helena’s Drawing Room—Ten years later. Morning ACT III The same. Afternoon EPILOGUE A Laboratory. One year later Place: An Island. Time: The Future....


1 minute read

Domin : A handsome man of 35. Forceful, efficient and humorous at times. Sulla : A pathetic figure. Young, pretty and attractive. Marius : A young Robot, superior to the general run of his kind. Dressed in modern clothes. Helena Glory : A vital, sympathetic, handsome girl of 21. Dr. Gall : A tall, distinguished scientist of 50. Mr. Fabry : A forceful, competent engineer of 40. Hallemeier : An impressive man of 40. Bald head and beard. Alquist : A stout, kindly old man of 60. Nana : A tall, acidulous woman of 40. Radius : A tall, forceful Robot. Helena : A radiant young woman of 20. Primus : A good-looking young Robot. Note : All the Robots wear expressionless faces and move with absolute mechanical precision, with the exception of Sulla , Helena and Primus , who convey a touch of humanity. Mr. Fabry : A forceful,...


38 minute read

Scene : Central office of the factory of Rossum’s Universal Robots. Entrance R. down Right. The windows on the back wall look out on the endless roads of factory buildings. Door L. down Left. On the Left wall large maps showing steamship and railroad routes. On the Right wall are fastened printed placards. (“Robots cheapest Labor,” etc.) In contrast to these wall fittings, the floor is covered with splendid Turkish carpet, a couch R.C. A book shelf containing bottles of wine and spirits, instead of books. Domin is sitting at his desk at Left, dictating. Sulla is at the typewriter upstage against the wall. There is a leather couch with arms Right Center. At the extreme Right an armchair. At extreme Left a chair. There is also a chair in front of Domin’s desk. Two green cabinets across the upstage corners of the room complete the furniture. Domin’s desk is...


38 minute read

Scene : Helena’s drawing room. Ten years later. The skeleton framework of Act I is still used. Tall windows put in back instead of Act I windows. Steel shutters for these windows. Where the green cabinet of Act I at Left has stood is a door , L.2 , leading to the outside. Where the cabinet stood at Right, a fireplace is placed. The tall open hallway R.C. of Act I is blocked up with a flat piece. The doors at Right and Left 1 have been changed to those of a drawing room. Door at Right leads to Helena’s bedroom. Door at Left 1 leads to library. The furniture consists of a reading table at Left Center covered with magazines. A chair to the Left of table. In front of table is an armchair covered in chintz. A couch Right Center and back of it is a small table...


26 minute read

Scene : Helena’s drawing-room as before. The room is dark and gray. The steel shutters which are outside are still closed as at the end of Act II. Alquist is sitting in chair down stage at extreme R. Domin comes into the room , L.2 . ( Subdued voices. ) Dr. Gall is looking out of the window at Center. He is seated in a chair. Domin. ( Gets binoculars from desk; crosses up to window. To Gall ) Any more of them? Dr. Gall. Yes. There standing like a wall, beyond the garden railing. Why are they so quiet? It’s monstrous to be besieged with silence. Domin. ( Looking through the barred windows ) I should like to know what they are waiting for? They must make a start any minute now. If they lean against the railings it will snap like a match. Dr. Gall. They aren’t armed....


10 minute read

Scene : The epilogue setting is the same as used in Act I. Instead of it being Domin’s office, it is now become a laboratory for Alquist . A big chair facing up stage, down Right. A desk laden with books at Right Center. A chair at the desk. At Left Center is a white enamel table containing test tubes, glass bottles, and a microscope on downstage table. A door down L. A door down R. , leading into dissecting room. Alquist. ( Seated at table R.C. , turning pages of book ) Oh, God, shall I never find it? Never? Gall, Hallemeier, Fabry, how were the Robots made? Why did you leave not a trace of the secret? Lord, if there are no human beings left, at least let there be Robots. At least the shadow of man. ( Turning pages ) If I could only sleep. Dare I...


3 minute read

Throughout: Dark grey carpet ground cloth. ACT ONE Furniture : 1 Desk. 1 Hat rack. 1 Swivel chair. 4 Plain office chairs—high back. 2 Low back chairs. 1 Typewriter table. 1 Couch. Cushions on all seats. 2 Cabinets. Properties on Domin’s desk : Flowers. Box candy. 1 Pad and blotter. 1 Letter opener. 1 Cigarette box. 1 Inkwell stand. 1 Practical buzzer (6 buttons). 1 Television. 1 Rubber stamp. 1 Pad of scrap paper. Typewritten letters. Telephone. On Typewriter Table : Bottle paste. Typewriter. Paper (for letters). OFF STAGE Off R. : 1 Silver card tray ( Marius ). 1 Apron ( Busman ). 1 Napkin ( Alquist ). Off L. : 1 Fountain pen (for Busman ). 1 Telephone buzzer. 1 Siren whistle. ACTS TWO AND THREE Furniture : 1 Desk table. 1 Reading table. 1 Small oval table. 1 Table back of couch. 1 Blue armchair. 1 Armchair....


54 minute read

The foots consist of two sections numbering from Left to Right, 1 and 2 amber, blue and white. The first border consists of eleven 250-watt baby spots, placed about one and a half feet apart and numbered from 7 to 17. Overhead X-rays consist of three sections containing the mediums: Blue, steel-blue, and frost. At stage Left and up stage are 2 1000-watt baby spots on permanent stand. At stage Right and up stage are 3 500-watt baby spots on permanent stands. Back stage illumination consists of 5 1000-watt bunch lights hanging blue, and 5 1000-watt bunch lights hanging frost. Off stage Left and up stage is a low stand lamp, 1000-watt amber. Back stage on floor are 2 1000 bunch floor lamps of 1000-watt each to illuminate the back drop. In Epilogue a Linnebach lamp (arc with glass slide) to throw silhouette of factory on back drop. There are...


1 minute read

Act I. Nothing. Act II. Fireplace on when Nana strikes match. Off when Nana says “There, that’s the end of them.” Act III. (one) table lamp and #17 off at start of Act, on at cue from Fabry : “Ah, they are there.” Off on “And they are working.” (Two) Table lamp and #17 spot on at cue “Our people are still there”—off on cue “A torch to be handed from age to age, from hand to hand forever.” (Three) Dim first-border spots #9, 10, and back stage hanging bunches on cue “Anything can be bought for half a billion.” (Four) The table “lamp-out” second time works simultaneous with the black out on cue: “A torch to be handed from hand to hand, from age to age.” Everything is pulled out except #18 and 20 (deep blue). (Five) With explosions in cellar the 2 1500-watt floor lamps at back (red)...