Robotics Meets Theatre — New Garage Theater Production of Heddatron

[What happens when a pregnant Ypsilanti housewife is captured by renegade robots, taken to a South American jungle, and compelled to perform Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler in a company of robot actors?  What seems to be a farce transcends the farcical, or so reviews of other productions have indicated.  We are NOT posting this to complain that robots are taking living actors’ jobs.  Nor are we posting this to complain about the descent of theater below suspension of disbelief.  Instead, this is an aspect of performance that is actually imitating life, needs to be taken seriously in this regard.  At CL&AF we are interested in robotics precisely because it represents a generalized elimination of what was once socially necessary but is now becoming unnecessary human labor.  Behind Paul LaFargue’s challenging The Right To Be Lazy has always been the challenge to debilitating work, the opportunity to free up human creative labor to confront the difficulties of survival such as how to educate appropriately, how to adapt to our changing environment so as not to destroy ourselves and so many of our fellow creatures.  And while Heddatron may not pose this question directly,  in our opinion it is built into the fabric of the play itself when ChiBots and others are actually building robot actors, ad did Le Freres Corbusier in New York 5 years ago (NYT review is here).   The play opens at Steppenwolf’s Garage Theatre Feb. 16, 2011. — Lew Rosenbaum]

Sideshow Theatre Company presents


By Elizabeth Meriwether
Directed by Jonathan L. Green 

A Steppenwolf Visiting Company Initiative
In the Garage Theatre
Wed. February 16, 2011 — Sun. April 24, 2011

Sideshow Theatre Company’s Heddatron is a part of the 2nd Annual Garage Rep.

Tickets go on sale January 7th


A book falls from the sky and a depressed Michigonian housewife is kidnapped by a clan of renegade robots, whisked away to the jungles of South America, and forced to perform the title role in a mechanical version of Hedda Gabler. As a documentarian searches for the truth about the abduction and the woman’s family mounts a search party, Ibsen himself enters the picture to defend his well-made play. Sideshow is partnering with robotics experts across Chicago to present a cast of human actors and functioning robots in this bizarre and savagely funny Chicago premiere.

Sideshow Theatre Company’s Heddatron is a part of the 2nd Annual Garage Rep, which also includes The Strange Tree Group ‘s The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen and UrbanTheater Company’s Sonnets for an Old Century.

Sideshow Theatre Company was founded in 2007. Sideshow’s mission is to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.
For more information, visit


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