Dec 15, 2018

Timely, so timely --- Robots, Steve Bannon, and us --- Generation Five, teaser

Take this (from yesterday's The Independent). It sounds like something from the Onion, but it's real:

Sex robot conference cancelled over backlash to proposed speech by Steve Bannon

'Anti-free speech' campaigners to blame, organisers say

An academic conference on sex with robots has been cancelled due to a backlash against a proposed speech by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump‘s former adviser.

Mr Bannon had been due to speak at the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE) this month in Montana, but protests from activists and fellow speakers forced the cancellation of the event, its organizers said...

You've seen this cartoon before, never mind

And we, we're working on our play Generation Five, which is all about robots. Here's the second scene (first scene here):

Next morning. The phone rings. ROBERT enters from the right, hastens to the phone (an outdated contraption). His “arthritis”, apparent already yesterday, has taken a turn for the worse:

ROBERT (picks up the receiver): Dr. Gillespie’s office and residence…(listens)…yes, sir…urgent, naturally…today, let me see (creating the impression of a busy appointment schedule). Yes, here…we have an unexpected opening for your at nine o’clock this morning…too early…how about an unexpected opening at ten o’clock…how about the afternoon, there we have a truly-unexpected opening at three o’clock…your name, please…oh I see…you are his personal assistant...the assistant of his personal assistant…and the patient’s name?...classified…you have our coordinates? have an email address?…very well, the doctor will see…will see the boss of your boss at three o’clock…have a good day (Robert exits to the kitchen).
ELIZA (from the bedroom; bedroom door is ajar): Robert. (No reaction). Robert. (No reaction). Robert!!
ROBERT (re-enters from the right, hastens to the left, puts his head half into the crack of the bedroom door): Did you call, Ma’am.
ELIZA (still in the bedroom): Yes.
ROBERT: I apologize Ma’am. I may not have heard you at first, Ma’am.
ELIZA: What’s wrong with you, Robert?
ROBERT: A regrettable, temporary malfunction, I fear. Nothing to worry about.
ELIZA: Something awoke me?
ROBERT: It was the phone. It rang (pulls the bedroom door wide open; thanks to the unusual layout of her apartment, ELIZA is now in full view). A very good morning to you, Ma’am.
ELIZA (on her canopied bed): Which day is it?
ROBERT: Wednesday, Ma’am.
ELIZA: Wednesday?
ROBERT: The twenty-fifth of January.
ELIZA: Twenty-fifth? And the year?
ROBERT: The year is…I have been under strict orders not to mention the year. Since many years.
ELIZA: Orders by whom?
ROBERT:  Especially on the twenty-fifth. Of January.
ELIZA: The twenty-fifth. OH MY GOD.

ROBERT: Can I assist you in any which way, Ma’am?
ROBERT: Do you wish to know the year?
ELIZA: Nobody can help me. Not even you.
ROBERT: As you wish.
ELIZA: Somebody called? Who called?
ROBERT: A patient for the new therapy. An important man, I gather. His personal assistant has a personal assistant.
ELIZA: New therapy? I’m just waking up…oh, yes, the therapy atop the food chain.
ROBERT: I offered him the three o’clock slot relinquished by Charles and Charles.
ELIZA: The twenty-fifth of January…nobody else called?
ROBERT: Not that I am aware of, Ma’am.
ELIZA: You know what it means, don’t you. The 25th of January, and the year. (ROBERT readies himself for an answer.) Don’t say, don’t say. It all comes back…it’s all too much.
ROBERT: I’ve prepared a celebratory breakfast for you, Ma’am.
ELIZA: I’ve just started a new diet, Robert. Ten years ago.

"I’ve just started a new diet, Robert. Ten years ago."

Robert, while staying engage in the conversation, returns to the kitchen.

ROBERT (from the kitchen): Two eggs boiled to perfection. Six-and-a-half minutes.
ROBERT: Croissants droned in from Paris by Amazon Prime.
ROBERT: Fresh orange juice squeezed with my own hands.
ELIZA: Yukk!
ROBERT: Goulash.
ELIZA (interested): Goulash?
ROBERT: A bottle of Roederer Christal.
ELIZA: That gives you away, Robert.

Robert resurfaces, balancing a magnum bottle of the champagne and a flute tumbler on a tray, crossing over to the bedroom.

ROBERT: I traced the bottle in the deepest recesses of our cellar.
ELIZA: We don’t have a cellar.
ROBERT: Well, Ma’am, judge yourself. (Pops the cork, fills and serves the glass). Congratulations, Ma’am.
ELIZA (raising the glass): The twenty-fifth of January. You deserve a glass too.
ROBERT: I don’t drink.
ELIZA: Well, you CAN’T drink.
ROBERT: Sadly. Fortunately.
ELIZA: To your temperance, then, Cheers.
ROBERT (a bit subdued): Cheers.

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