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The Great War has just ended. The fledgling Republic of Czechoslovakia, under its first elected President, boasts a thriving artistic and intellectual community. At the center of that community is the celebrated playwright Karel Capek, a passionate advocate for all his newborn nation can achieve. But the brave new world arrives faster than Karel could have ever expected when a young woman walks into his life with a strange mannequin in a wheelchair … a mannequin that gets up and moves all by itself. Universal Robots offers a compelling, alternate history of the Twentieth Century, imagining the invention of the robot in 1921 and chronicling the shocking consequences of that invention right up to the present day.





"Mac Rogers’s new play Universal Robots is one of the best new works I’ve seen in the theatre all year. this is no simple adaptation, though, but rather a sort of mashup of the original play, the Capeks’ biographies, and a good deal of mid-20th century history, all filtered through a very contemporary horror/sci-fi sensibility. The result is a drama that’s astute, ideological in the best possible way, and enormously compelling and entertaining. t’s tremendously skillful alternative history, culminating in a robot rebellion that makes for an edge-of-your-seat finish equal to the best story-telling of stage or screen. There’s plenty to mull over, ideologically and dramatically, after the curtain comes down. This is brilliant drama". -NYTheatre


"Universal Robots is a play that is not only a current must-see, but one that deserves more productions. It deserves bigger stages and audiences. It, like the sentient robots it depicts, deserves a life.  Universal Robots isn’t campy, cheesy sci-fi. It’s a work that is capable of shaking you to the core, forcing you to examine your own humanity, ideals, and faith. It was not what I was expecting, and it was everything that I look for in a piece of theater. That has a lot to do with Mac Rogers, a prolific playwright whose work I’d never seen before and will now probably go and see forever. His dialogue is humorous and poignant, and the characters he’s created are finely-etched and lived-in, human and robot alike."-Pink Raygun



"The script is intellectually challenging, but at times dark and moving. With no set, minimal props, and very little room in which to work, the marvelous actors draw us in quickly with a very dense script of discussion that starts with political theory and carries us through innovation, love, failure, success, and memory. It’s a terrifying, wonderful way to spend an evening."– SF Scope


"Universal Robots is a complex and novel piece of work, vexing in parts, but invigorating enough on the whole that every science fiction fan and most mainstream theatregoers will find it rewarding.  Being able to write interestingly about science, politics, and their implications for society is a rare and commendable skill, and Rogers makes us care as much about these robots’ love stories, war stories, and the birth of their nation as we do about any such narrative." –


"Living in a time and place where so much of the popular entertainment is geared toward the lowest common denominator, it is an absolute joy to discover a writer who is creating epic and challenging works of art. Mac Rogers has done exactly that with his surprising Universal Robots, currently being performed at Manhattan Theatre Source. Universal Robots is one of the strongest, most exciting plays I’ve seen in years. This one is not to be missed." – Theatre Online


"How do you promote art, theater, music, and poetry in a deteriorating, postwar society? How do the dreamers of a nation remain true to their ideals and still connect to the civilians they hope to inspire? Mac Rogers succeeds in answering such questions through a fresh voice of reason and astuteness with his ambitious new play, Universal Robots.An intelligent play that leaves no room for error, Rogers has created a contemporary gem that urges its audience to ponder whether the need for human contact and interaction can be discarded while still maintaining a collective sense of initiative, justice, and achievement. His alternate telling of the past ninety-plus years illustrates a world where toil and suffering can be handed off to an indifferent, unfeeling working class with astounding ramifications. In fact, this scientific upshot rewrites the entire history of the second half of the Twentieth Century. No, not history — in an age of asexual technology, it’s more like a rewrite of “itstory,” a rewrite with a staggering, gripping conclusion." -New Theater Corps


"Rogers’ version is equal parts historical drama and parable, expertly presenting the moral and political gray areas a servant class of robots would necessitate. The robots’ affecting journey into sentience (and the parallel journey of those who manufactured them) is at once funny, stirring and horrifying. While Rogers’s sci-fi fable concludes that Dawkins’ ever-evolving romance between the organic and the inorganic might end in heartbreak, he also suggests that inhuman robots could eventually learn to be humane. This leaves us with a final allegory, I suppose, about how all the things we make – like art, war, and love – have our best traits programmed into them." -OffOffOnline


"In fact, Universal seems much shorter than its actual running time. It is a richly satisfying play, highly recommended to those who enjoy the work of Stoppard and Michael Frayn’s recent plays." -JB Spins

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