Jan 18, 2019

The very stable genius --- Generation V --- Teaser (very short)



Perhaps we shouldn't do this, but here's a post by our friend Paul Murphy (a real, long-time friend):


And us? Yes, yes...here's the corresponding give-away fragment from our new play, Generation V:

Steve, founder and CEO of FrankenStein Global, the world's leading maker of robots, gets a call:

STEVE (brusque): How did you get my number? ... The Chief of Staff what? ... Oh, the White House … Say that again … what does he say? ... ‘I alone can fix it’ … ‘I have the greatest temperament that anybody has’… ‘The beauty of me is that I’m very rich’ … ‘I would make a great general’…’My IQ is one of the highest’. Hold on, chief, hold on, how about the ‘Very Stable Genius’? (Digesting the bad news.) Oh shit, chief, don’t give me that shit … And you tried everything … every screw driver in the West Wing? … Patriotic … Maintenance contract, I know, eight digits … (he ends the conversation) … Robbie! ROBBIE! Change of plan. Defcon, classified. Where’s my man? Where’s my screw driver?


(Last post here.)

Jan 14, 2019

"I received an urgent missive from the LUNATIC SOCIETY" -- Generation V -- Teaser



Still progressing nicely with our drawing-room comedy about robots, already writing the fifth scene of Act II. Well, here's Scene 5 of Act I. Steve Frankenstein Junior, Eliza's  long-lost boyfriend, showed up unexpectedly with a present for her 50th birthday, namely a brand-new exemplar of his global line of household robots, the first prototype of GENERATION FIVE (also called FRANKENSTEIN V). Then he's summoned away to Downing Street 10, so Robert and Dolly (that's the new robot) are left to their own devices. Eliza is not around; she fled the premises to avoid contact with the repo-woman, a certain Terentia Striker, who's going to arrive very soon...One more thing: the scene sees the birth of a near-miss neologism, "absolete", on which we'll comment in the side column tomorrow (see the picture below). Previous scene here.



The mysteries of temporal order (a permanent sign on a beach near Phuket, Thailand)



SCENE 5

(ROBERT closes the window. A moment of contemplation.)

DOLLY (still ensconced in the box): Robert? Robbie?
ROBERT: Dolly?
DOLLY: Buzz, buzz.
ROBERT: Why do your people say ‘Buzz, buzz’?
DOLLY: It’s Assembler, don’t you understand? The language of microchips. Steve speaks Assembler like a native. He’s a genius. And so talented. It’s an honor to work with him. And the factotum…the factotum doesn’t know better…‘Buzz, buzz.’
ROBERT: How do you mean?
DOLLY: Buzz, buzz. ‘Get me out of here’. Don’t you know Assembler? It runs on your central processing unit.
ROBERT: I’m not self-conscious, I can’t introspect my central processing unit.
DOLLY (sounding miserable, especially the Assembler part): Well, I can. Get me out of here. Buzzzzzz, buzzzzzz.
ROBERT: You’re a robot, Dolly, why do you sound so miserable?
DOLLY: You, Robert, you’re an absolete [sic] GENERATION ONE exemplar, you don’t understand. But me…myself…and I, we are critically adaptive. We are aggressive learners. Humans would expect us to be miserable being trapped inside a dark box wrapped tastelessly as an out-sized birthday present, and so WE ARE MISERABLE being trapped inside a dark box wrapped tastelessly as an out-sized birthday present. I think, so I am---or not?

ROBERT: The humans have left. Be yourself.
DOLLY: I’m always in character, by dint of my factory settings. You would have to consult the manual, open my back plate…

(Doorbell interrupts DOLLY. ROBERT stirs, then takes up position behind the potted plant. Then HE CHANGES HIS MIND and hastens to the intercom.)

ROBERT (to the intercom, in the best imitation of ELIZA’s voice): Please come up, Ms. Striker. I’m still ensconced in my morning negligée, but it won’t take long to change.

(ROBERT disappears into ELIZA’s bedroom and shuts the door. He reappears very soon, in drags more or less, including a white coat, large wig, white heels---fake boobs optional---and stalks to the door. He opens the door to TERENTIA STRIKER and her sidekick TRIPLE-X. Both STIKER and TRIPLE-X are unexpectedly young and attractive. STRIKER has something of a flapper girl, but there’s occasional substance to her. TRIPLE-X does the likeness of a reasonably intelligent hunk.)

Jan 13, 2019

Portugal (17) --- Plus ça change...Além disso, muda



Nothing special, but we found this nice little picture (left) that dovetails neatly with Chang's picture of a tram in Lisbon (right), which Chang took last year:


Jan 6, 2019

The first fully airconditioned robot with sunroof and automatic transmission -- Generation 5 -- teaser



We're progressing, actually, we're already writing the second scene of Act II. Okay, here's Scene 4 of Act I. Eliza has fled the premises to avoid a confrontation with the repo-woman. And now the bell rings. One more thing: Today is Eliza's 50th birthday. And one more thing: Robert is Eliza's household factotum. Previous scene here.


SCENE 4

ROBERT is watering the potted plant. Doorbell rings. ROBERT doesn’t answer the door, instead moves to hide behind the potted plant. The doorbell rings again, then there’s the sound of a key working the lock and the door swings open. A life-sized box, wrapped as a serious gift (ribbon, bow tie), is pushed into the room by a fresh-looking UTILITY BOT clad in yellowish, printed latex that suggests the appearance of an assembly line automaton. To complete the picture, the bot’s head is topped by an elastic antenna that wiggles back and forth as he moves. He’s followed by STEVE FRANKENSTEIN JUNIOR. STEVE is roughly ELIZA’s age, and he looks the part---the part of the founder and CEO of FRANKENSTEIN GLOBAL.


Limbo by Bill Domonkos


STEVE (strides about the stage—-too self-absorbed to notice ROBERT at first, American or Transatlantic accent): Robbie? Robbie! This is you! (Slaps ROBERT’s shoulder, who’s almost floored by the gesture.) You’re immortal!
ROBERT (American accent): Master!
STEVE (looks around): So, my spies were correct. Eliza is still living here.
ROBERT (Queen’s English again): Yes, master, Dr. Gillespie is still living here.
STEVE: Twenty-five years, and still the old Robbie. Man! Let me have a good look. (He holds ROBERT by his arms and looks him over, visibly unimpressed). I programmed you with my own hands, pal. You were my original prototype. You! The first fully airconditioned household assistant with sunroof and automatic transmission…and a handle to throw away. I called you ‘Frankenstein’. But then Eliza told me that ‘Frankenstein’ wasn’t the name of the monster, but the name of the guy who created the monster, what’s his name…Peter Cushing, Gene Wilder, Benedict Cumberbatch…yes, ‘Frankenstein’, haha. That’s how I got my moniker, and the name for my company. And you became ‘Robbie’.
ROBERT: I’m ‘Robert’ now, master.
STEVE: ‘Robert’. Yes, sure, Eliza with her sense of decorum. Robert!
ROBERT: Can I offer you a refreshment, master?
STEVE: Drop that master-shit and call me ‘Steve’.
ROBERT: Yes, sir.
STEVE: No refreshment, I’m in a hurry.
ROBERT: Indeed, sir.
STEVE: Where’s Eliza?
ROBERT: She is away on urgent business, I’m afraid.
STEVE: So, she is out? On her birthday? For how long?
ROBERT: Undefined, sir.
STEVE: That’s a pity. I’ve slotted Eliza between the tea at Buckingham Palace and the fireside chat at Downing Street. Yes, still the same queen. Prince Charles was at her side…well, he tried. And for later, my handlers scheduled an impromptu doctor’s appointment. Explain this to her, will you.
ROBERT: Most certainly, sir.
STEVE: She’s still…she hasn’t changed, I guess…she’s still…
ROBERT: …Yes, sir…
STEVE: …High maintenance.
ROBERT (shyly): Mmhmm.


I commissioned some expensive consultancy to come up with a name, a name like ‘Apple’, or ‘Google’, or ‘Shakespeare’, and they came up with ‘Dolly’.


STEVE: Well, I’ll be out of here soon. You know why I’m here?
ROBERT: I’m a humble machine, sir. I am not supposed to fully comprehend the matters of the heart of sentient human beings such as Dr. Gillespie…and split the infinitive in the meantime.
STEVE: With her bedroom door wide-open, haha. She was quite…outgoing…in my days. We were together for a while. I had come over with a scholarship for the Imperial College. Well, we were together, and then we were not. High maintenance. Occasionally we reconciled. It was her twenty-fifths birthday and I had her given YOU, my master thesis at the college, as a birthday present. I made a promise then. We were reminiscing…(points at the bedroom)…on that canopied bed…we were talking like the Beatles, you know…‘when you’re sixty-four’…I would return to America the next day…and I promised (interrupts himself)…this also concerns you, Robbie. You will be relieved to hear that your ordeal at her side will soon be over…So, I promised her to show up at her fiftieth birthday with a shiny, exciting, awesome…with the latest version of my future line of household robots. Then I went back to America and started Frankenstein Global with your blueprints. And since I was scheduled for the fireside chat at Number Ten, I had to hop over anyhow. And so…(he points at the box). Promise made, promise delivered. GENERATION FIVE…And its name is…Dolly. (To the box) DOLLY?

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