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(Rosumovi Univerzální Roboti - "Rossum’s Universal Robots") A futuristic play by Karel Çapek (1920). An apocalyptic vision of a revolution by robots which satirizes the contemporary world.

Published in Czech in 1920, the play opened in Prague on 25 January 1921. The English translation by Paul Selver, adapted for the English stage by Nigel Playfair, was produced by Basil Dean for the Reandean Company at St. Martin's Theatre, London in April 1923. The play introduced the word "robot" to the English language and to science fiction as a whole.

Performance history in South Africa

1928: Three successful performances produced by the Johannesburg Reps as their first production.

1936: Produced again by the Johannesburg Reps in 1936.

(The Reps productions apparently had an interesting side-effect in South Africa: the term "robot" [pronounced "row-bot"] was also applied to the new automated traffic lights that had just made their appearance in Johannesburg in 1929, and rapidly became - and has remained - the standard term for traffic lights in South African English as well as Afrikaans and other indigenous languages.)

Translations and adaptations

1939: Translated into Afrikaans by M.C. Botha and produced by Volksteater in 1939, directed by Napier de Bruyn.

1947: Produced in Afrikaans by K.A.T. in Cape Town, directed to acclaim by Napier de Bruyn.



Du Toit , 1988

Hoffman, Arthur and Anna Romain, 1980.

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