Doppelgänger Dance

The big picture

Photo: Valentin Flauraud/Reuters/Landov

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Imagine how you’d feel meeting a version of yourself that never ages and will never die. That’s what the female lead character in the new play Robots must deal with. The machine is one of three (including a butler and a dog) created by the male lead, who’s on the brink of swearing off human contact in favor of his preprogrammed companions.

The play’s robots are the result of a 10¿¿¿year collaboration in Lausanne, Switzerland. BlueBotics, a firm specializing in autonomous robots, came up with a laser-based guidance system and a scheme that uses something like a Musical Instrument Digital Interface protocol for controlling the humanoids’ every move. François Junod, a renowned maker of lifelike mechanical moving figures, supplied the faux-female machine’s fine motor coordination, allowing ”her” to make subtle gestures. (Robots ran from 1 to 16 May at a theater in Servion, just outside of Lausanne.)