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Robots perform in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' said to outdo the cast of New Moon

Laura June Dziuban
November 20, 2009
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Shakespeare's plays have a long, long history of being modded to fit the times. We've seen Macbeths do the running man, and Cordelias dressed like Susie Sioux -- and we've also seen Forbidden Planet, so we know that Robby was just a tinned up Ariel. So robots in Shakespeare? Sure, we've seen that before, but what haven't we seen intertwined into bad theatre? Well, Texas A&M's just staged A Midsummer Night's Dream to include robotic cast members. Working with Professor Robin Murphy, who heads up the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, director Amy Hopper hacked the script a bit to include an air robot -- which is about the size of a pizza, and has been used in military operations -- playing a fairy, and six small radio controlled helicopters. The robotics team used the opportunity to observe how cast and audience members reacted to the robots, and we're pretty sure the audience warmed to them far more quickly than they would to Christian Bale or Sean Penn.

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