Karel Čapek’s "R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)"

The Origin of the Word Robot in

Karel Čapek’s “R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)”

Opens Strawdog’s 21st Season

      Three-show Season Tickets Available Now


WHAT            Strawdog Theatre Company kicks off their 21st season with Karel Čapek’s science fiction drama “R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universa Robots),” directed by Strawdog Artistic Associate Shade Murray.  Set in the 1920s at the island factory of Rossum’s Universal Robots, “R.U.R.” follows a team of scientists who have created the model to factory-produce the world’s first robotic workforce.  When an idealistic young woman arrives on a quest to free the “souls” of the robots (and discovers there is no such thing), she manipulates the scientists to biologically remedy that fact.  Soon after these “improved” and extremely humanlike robots have been shipped all over the world, the inevitable robot revolution explodes, leaving questions about the survival of humanity and what actually makes a human. “R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots)” runs about two hours with one intermission, with free admittance to Strawdog Late Night following the Friday and Saturday shows. 


Čapek was the first person to introduce the term robot to the world, though the term was actually invented by his brother Josef.  Čapek’s famous utopian fantasy novel War with the Newts has been adapted into a play by Jason Loewith and Justin D.M. Palmer, and will premiere at Evanston’s Next Theatre in February 2009.  Murray returns after directing Strawdog’s award-winning productions of “Detective Story” (2003 Jeff Awards for Production, Director, and Ensemble), and Marathon ’33” (2006 Jeff Award for Ensemble).  


WHERE:         Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60613

Red Line Sheridan stop; 36-Broadway and 80-Irving Park buses

$6 honor parking at Greeley School, 832 W. Sheridan, weekends after 5 p.m.


WHEN:           Opens Sunday, September 21, 2008, 7 p.m. (reception following)

                     Closes on Saturday, October 25, 2008

            Runs Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m.

           Previews on September 18 and September 19 at 8 p.m.

           Added industry show on Monday, September 29, 8 p.m.

           ($5 industry/$20 regular)

           Added Thursday shows on October 16 and 23, 8 p.m. ($20 ticket)

           Special Gala Benefit Performance Saturday, September 20 at

           7 p.m. ($40 ticket)


TICKETS:       773-528-9696, www.strawdog.org 

$20 for all regular performances

$15 for students and seniors (with ID), and for groups of ten or more

           $10 for previews

           $40 for Gala Benefit on September 20, including cocktails and


           $5 for industry show on September 29 (with resume/

           headshot/card); $20 otherwise

           Regular ticket purchase also includes admittance to Strawdog

                      Late Nights (improv, comedy, music, etc.) directly after Friday

                      and Saturday night shows $50 for 3-show season tickets

                     (or all-gala package for $100)


STAFF:          Strawdog ensemble members Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Design),

                      Aly Renee Greaves (Costume Design), with artistic associate

                      Shade Murray (Director). With guest artists Dan Stratton

                      (Scenic Design), Miles Polaski (Sound Design),

                      Samantha Szigeti  (Lighting Design), Sean Sheridan

                      (Stage Manager), and Cortney Hurley (Production Manager). 


CAST:              Strawdog ensemble members Carmine Grisolia (Hallemeir), Anderson Lawfer (Fabry), Michaela Petro (Helena), and John Henry Roberts (Gall).  With guest artists Ryan Bolletino (Domin), Brennan Buhl (Busman), Zach Clark (Marius), Andrew Gebhart (Radius), Joe Goldhammer (Primus), Sara Gorsky (Ensemble), Jocelyn Kelvin (Sulla), Nick Lake (Damon), Henry Riggs (Ensemble),  Noah Simon (Alquist), and Rebekah Ward Hays (Emma).


BIO:               Playwright Karel Čapek (1890-1938) was born in Czechoslovakia and was one the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. Čapek was the first person to introduce the term robot to the world. His other works of science fiction include “The Makropulos Affair,” “The Absolute at Large,” “The White Disease” and “The Mother –Matka.” 


NEXT:           Strawdog will continue their 21st season with Curt Columbus’ translation of “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov, directed by Strawdog Artistic Associate Kimberly Senior, running February 19-March 28, 2009; and Peter Barnes’ black comedy “Red Noses,” directed by House Theatre’s Matthew Hawkins, running April 16-May 23, 2009.


FUNDERS:   Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Gerry Brown and Associates and the annual support of businesses and individuals. 


MISSION:     Strawdog Theatre Company is committed to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach, offering Chicago the premiere storefront theatre experience. We develop new work, reimagine classic plays, explore new fusions of music and theatre, ask provocative questions and deliver our audience the unexpected.  We provide a home for our celebrated ensemble to work and play with the most sought after artists in Chicago theatre along with the best new talents in the city.  Founded in 1988, the Strawdog ensemble has consistently produced shows built on authentic human connections, and our comfortable 70-seat home in Lakeview is perfect for offering our audience a quintessential Chicago storefront theatre experience.  “The whole wide world in a little black box.”  Strawdog is a proud member of the NortHalsted Area Merchant Association, The Chicago Storefront Theatre District and the League of Chicago Theatres.


HISTORY:     Strawdog Theatre Company was formed in 1988 by a group of actors who had performed together in a production of Euripides’s “Helen” at a (now defunct) theatre on the west side.  The group took their name from Sam Peckinpah’s movie “Straw Dogs” (Theatresaurus Rex was, thankfully, the runner-up), and they produced their first show, Len Jenkin’s “Five of Us” at a (now defunct) space in Bucktown.  At the time, the Chicago Reader said “Strawdog Theatre Company’s inaugural production brings … truth home with a vengeance,” and Skyline Chicago added “The Strawdog troupe shows us what an ensemble can do.”  Twenty years later, Strawdog Theatre Company has survived the ups and downs of Chicago theatre, and is still dedicated to bringing the truth to audiences through the committed work of an award-winning ensemble of actors and designers.


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