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PJC drama offering virtual performances this fall

Published or Revised October 09, 2020

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A historical photo showing three robots in the original play from 1921, which originated the word “robot.” (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Though drama at Paris Junior College has had to step back from public performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two free, virtual shows will be offered via Zoom for the fall 2020 semester. PJC is following the lead of many professional theater companies around the globe currently offering performances of this type.

“During this time of social distancing and isolation as a society,” said PJC Drama Instructor Robyn Huizinga, “we need opportunities to safely connect. Working on virtual productions allows our students hands-on, real-world experience, and it also offers our students and greater audiences opportunities to connect and share in a collective experience, momentarily eliminating the distance between us.”

“Rossum’s Universal Robots” or “RUR” will take the virtual stage on November 12-14 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. “Alice in Cyberland” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 4, and 5 and at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Everyone knows the word, “robot,” but not everyone knows it was first introduced to the world in the 1920 science fiction play “RUR” by the Czech writer Karel Čapek, which premiered in 1921. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people, called roboti (robots), from synthetic organic matter. They are living creatures of artificial flesh and blood rather than machinery, who may be mistaken for humans and can think for themselves. They seem happy to work for humans at first, but a robot rebellion leads to the extinction of the human race.

“Alice in Cyberland” is a new adaptation by the cast and director of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” creating a modern take on the classic stories. In this version, Alice will travel through her computer monitor into a fantastic cyber world inside her computer and the internet. It will be adapted from Carroll’s works and the 1915 stage play.

“This will be a fun, children and family-friendly adventure to brighten up spirits before the end of the fall semester and during the holiday season,” said Huizinga.

Performances for both shows will be capped at 100 attendees each to manage the Zoom “waiting room” prior to the show starting. To begin the reservation process, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Auditions for “Rossum’s Universal Robots” will be held on at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and Wednesday on Oct. 14, on Zoom. Those interested should email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for details on how to participate.

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