Rossum's Universal Robots
A Play in Three Acts
by Karel Čapek
Originally produced on Broadway by The Theatre Guild, R. U. R. is now considered a classic of science fiction. Credited with introducing the word “robot” into the English language, the play is a dramatic and fascinating look into the lives of the scientists who invite and manufacture a working class of robots. Over time, the robots develop beyond the expectations of the scientists and acquire human feelings. They start a revolt, taking over the world, until every human, but one, is extinct.
First published in Prague by Aventiunum Publishers in 1920. It had its premiere production in that city in 1921. The play caught the interest of British theatre producer Nigel Fairchild who, along with Peter Selver, translated and adapted it for the English stage. The new translation was produced on Broadway by the esteemed Theatre Guild at the Garrick Theatre on October 9, 1922 and played for a respectable 184 performances. The production was directed by Philip Moeller and Agnes Morgan. It was produced the following year in London. Since then, the play has been translated into 30 languages. It was revived on Broadway in 1942 in a production directed by Lee Strasberg.
Karel Čapek was born in 1890 in Bohemia, part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, now the Czech Republic. He became one of the leading Czech intellectuals and started writing experimental plays after being influenced by the Cubism art form. He is considered one of the forefathers of science fiction.