translated by Cathy Porter and Peter Majer
A funny and surreal story of servitude and technology, R.U.R. was legendary Czech writer Karel Čapek’s first major work for the stage.
In their introduction to the play, translators Peter Majer and Cathy Porter write that Čapek’s ‘idiosyncratic nihilism found its earliest expression in his first large-scale stage drama, R.U.R., or Reason’s Universal Robots 1921. The Robot was the invention of Karel Čapek and his brother Josef, and the play is a gloriously dystopic science-fiction fantasy about them and the brave new world of the men who mass-produce them . . . Robots multiply, are bought and sold and gradually take over every aspect of human existence. As people grow idle and stop procreating, the Robots rebel and destroy almost the entire human race . . . R.U.R. was frequently performed in Europe and America throughout the 1920s, and the outrageous comedy of its central premise, its surrealistic visual effects and experimental use of space immediately caught the popular theatrical imagination.'
R.U.R or Rosumovi Umělí Roboti, was first performed in Prague in 1921.