When Judy Norman walks on stage for the play Spillikin, she performs beside a somewhat different cast member — a humanoid robot.
Featuring a “robothespian”, the play brings love and technology together for a story about an engineer who builds a robot to keep his wife company after he dies.
Yet accuracy is required from the human thespian:
The robot is connected to the theatre’s control room, where a laptop transmits cues for its performance.
“[There is] a big pressure on the actor…to always have the right lines, always stand in the right place so that the robot is looking at the right direction at that particular moment,” Welch said.
Onstage, Norman talks to the robot and even kisses it. In return, the robot replies, displays facial expressions and moves its hands.