25 January 2021 will mark the 100th anniversary R.U.R.’s premiere at the National Theatre in Prague. Written in 1920 by Czech writer, dramatist and journalist Karel Čapek as a comedy, the play coined the word “robot”, which, along with its title, gained worldwide notoriety in the following years. The play marked the emergence of a thread of science-fiction themes in the Čapek’s novels and plays, while his drama The White Plague has taken on a special urgency in light of the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Both plays warn of the ethical and existential dilemmas of modern civilisation in the form of global threats linked to the negative effects of machines and technology, totalitarianism, armaments or pandemics. On one hand, artificial intelligence has become commonplace, a helpful part of our everyday lives that can even compose music and paint pictures, while, on the other, it raises ethical dilemmas and concerns as strong as those articulated 100 years ago.
For the 100th anniversary of the premiere of R.U.R. at the National Theatre in Prague, ATI, in collaboration with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, The Society of the Brothers Čapek, and Silesian University in Opava, will host an online international theatre studies conference.
The conference will take place on 26-27 January 2021 on the Zoom platform and will be held in English. Here you can find the programme. Contributions will be published in a collection of conference proceedings following the event.