B. R. R.

By Thaddeus R. R. Boyd

(Heh heh. The Autobot and Decepticon faces as comedy and tragedy. That’s funny. I kill me.

If I ever actually publish this, I’m taking those off. I’ve got enough problems with possible copyright infringement.)

A note on this version: HTML-ized...poorly...with StarOffice. You might be better off checking out the Word version (I think it's Word 6.0/95).

Really, the only difference you'll be able to see here (although, I assure you, StarOffice's HTML is poor) is that I use a < between lines to imply that they're to be spoken simultaneously.


Thad Boyd.

(based on himself.)

The author. Proud of his work, and very defensive about it if it comes down to it. Should look remotely similar to Area.

The Director.

(based on Erin McDonald.)

Erin McDonald in this version, but can be tailored to the name and gender of whoever is directing the script. A good friend of Thad’s and appreciative of his work, despite constant efforts to prove the contrary.

Harry Area.

(based on Harry Domain, as played by Thad Boyd.)

The romantic lead, though he hardly looks it. Nobody would be surprised if told the actor portraying him had gotten his first kiss as the result of a game of Truth or Dare. He’s truly taken with Helena, however, and all his underhandedness and desperation in her direction are the result of a deep infatuation, if not love. May be double-cast as Diameter.

Helena Handbasket.

(based on Helena Glory, as played by Holly McRoy.)

Area’s love interest. Well-meaning, but unfortunately a really stereotypical dumb blond. May be double-cast as Robotic Helena, but I strongly recommend against it.


(based on Alquist, as played by Christian Laursen.)

The troublemaker among the scientists. He foresees humanity’s impending doom, but does nothing to stop it except complain. However, his respect for the robots is rewarded with him being the only scientist they don’t kill. Also, clearly a lady’s man, though he finds that a liability more than an asset with all the women mobbing him backstage.


(based on Dr. Gall, as played by Michael Crusoe.)

The pathetic character among the scientists. Like all of them, he is deeply infatuated with Helena, but he hasn’t any spine with which to communicate his affections, so he spends his time conducting perverse experiments with the robots (mostly on her request).


(based on Dr. Helman, as played by Erin McDonald.)

The only female of the scientists, borne out of the fact that Helman, in R. U. R., was the only one of them who could be cast as a female. Hence “Androgen”. She hopes for her moment in the sun, but it really doesn’t happen.


(based on Jacob Berman, as played by Lindsay Essary.)

The accountant who everyone hates. His actor persona is constantly late and uncomfortable about being so, but generally good-natured. May be double-cast as Diameter.


(based on Dr. Fabry, as played by Chris Portugal.)

Really the throwaway out of all the scientists. If casting gets tough, his part can be incorporated into the other three scientists’, but it’s best to leave him in, in my opinion. As an actor, he is good but lacks confidence. May be double-cast as Diameter.

Larry the Disgruntled Audience Member.

The sort of guy who comes to a play just to complain. Nitpicks about virtually every aspect of the play, but turns down confrontation up until the end. Must be able to perform in a swordfight scene. Optionally may be cast as “Linda”. May be double-cast as Optimal Primus or Robotic Helena, situation obviously depending.


(based on Emma, as played by Elizabeth Maher.)

Helena’s maid, a Southern Baptist. Loud, obnoxious, and opinionated.


(based on Radius, as played by Alex Ringler.)

The lead robot. Good at sounding plastic. May be double-cast as Area, Norman, Fabric, or Luke.


(based on Sulla, as played by Nicole Spurlin.)

Area’s extremely attractive typist, who he clearly has a thing for. Also must be good at sounding and acting plastic. May be double-cast with Androgen and/or Robotic Helena.


(based on Marius, as played by Robert Owen-Jones.)

Area’s servant, Leia’s somewhat limited love interest. Yet again good at sounding plastic. May be double-cast with Fabric, Norman, Audacity, Diameter, or Optimal Primus.

Robotic Helena.

(based on Robotess Helena, as played by Alli Simon.)

Audacity’s masterpiece. Useless to him during her first mention, but evolves to the point where she and Primus experience very human emotions. Must sound slightly plastic. May be double-cast as any other female in the show except the Director, though I recommend against it.

Optimal Primus.

(based on Primus, as played by Robert Owen-Jones.)

R. Helena’s love interest. Loves her to the point of being over-protective, as is evident enough to Mountie for him to believe again in the survival of sentient life. Plastic with a hint of humanity again. May be double-cast as any other male in the show except Thad or Mountie (or the Director, if cast as a male), but would be best double-cast as Luke.


(based on Fred Boyd.)

Obviously proud of the accomplishments of the R. U. R. cast, but was heavily disappointed with the script. Incidentally, if you want a bit of subtext, he’s Thad’s father.

Robot 1 and Robot 2.

(based on several Robots, played by Brandy Fisher, Samara Burch, Nicole Spurlin, and Robert Owen-Jones.)

Two or more extra robots. One gets to kill Androgen, the other gets to say a couple lines. May be double-cast as anyone else in the show except Mountie, Androgen, Thad, the Director, or Diameter (also shouldn’t be Audacity or Larry, but can be in a pinch).


(based on Mindy Chick.)

Actually, an inside joke that can be thrown away if not seen to fit. Has one line, a voice-over. Can and should be double-cast as any other female in the production.

Women Offstage.

(based on Nicole Spurlin, Alli Simon, and Samara Burch, possibly and probably among others.)

Squealing female voices offstage when Mountie exits. Should be allotted to any females offstage R at the proper time.

(A video of Brad Pitt, complete with lip movements almost on-target with THAD’s words, appears on the monitor.)

THAD. Hi, I’m Thad Boyd, author of B. R. R. My reason for writing it is this: recently we at Tempe High School, Tempe, Arizona, performed the science fiction cornerstone, R. U. R. The show was subject to such reviews as the following:

REVIEWER. (Voice-over) I have had many theatric experiences in my life, but none quite so painful as this. Don’t get me wrong, the acting was well done; there was no stumbling over lines, and the characters were well-portrayed. However, as for the script, well…nineteen-twenties Czechoslovakia is a far cry from the 1999 United States…even in Phoenix. I can only conclude, after sitting for two and a half hours in a fifty-degree hall experiencing this show, that the author should be taken out and slapped.

(A light begins coming up on THAD and the DIRECTOR, in chairs on a platform UC.)

THAD. Between such back – hey! Hey! (Looks in general direction of lighting booth) …What are you doing?! (No response. He glances nervously around the audience, pulls a curtain out from underneath his chair.) Uhhhhh…pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

DIRECTOR. Oh, give it up, Thad. (Thumps him. The video is cut off.)

THAD. (Slowly puts curtain back under chair, heaves long-suffering sigh) …Creative differences. This is my Director (he says the word as though it’s the name of some kind of unpleasant disease), Erin McDonald.


THAD. (Glares at her, clears throat, looks back at audience, clears throat again, launches back in:) …With such backhandedly-complimentary criticism and the fact that the script did contain certain lines that were simply loaded (you change one word in the script to a reference to the male anatomy, and everything takes on a new meaning), I decided that a parody of some variety is in order. …So, here goes. We begin with Harry Area, chief engineer of B. R. R., and his ultra-fine typist Leia, with whom he swears up and down he is “just friends”.

(Blackout. Lights come back up on office-lookin’ place. AREA is half-sitting, half-leaning on his desk, UR, while LEIA is sitting at her own desk, slightly R of C, typing.)

AREA. (Muttering to self just as the lights come up) …Man, this really hurts my butt. (Realizes suddenly that the lights have come up, stammers a bit.) Uhhhh…so anyway…Leia! Transcribe two almost-completely-unnecessary letters for me in a vain attempt to establish mood! (Whirls to door, R) Who is she?

LUKE. (Entering) There’s a lady, Sir, asking to…

AREA. “Hi, my name is Helena Handbasket, daughter of Professor Jojo Handbasket, as seen on TV.” Well, send her in.

LUKE. She gave me this card. (Hands card over)

AREA. I am.

(LUKE ushers in HELENA.)

HELENA. Are you Mr. Area, the general manager?

AREA. Sure I’ll show you the factory!

HELENA. Will you show me the factory?

AREA. Yeah, we don’t usually let people see the factory, but y’know…

HELENA. I thought you didn’t usually let people see the factory.

AREA. – Interests me, you were going to say.

HELENA. If only you knew how enormously that – (Beat) Why do you keep responding to my comments before I even say them?

AREA. It really annoys the hell out of most people. …I’m fearfully misanthropic, you know…(Suddenly coming on to HELENA) I say, are you a natural blond?

HELENA. (Looking offended) Of course!

AREA. Oh. Okay. …Let’s sit down and bore the audience with some really heavy exposition, shall we?

HELENA. Sounds good to me.

AREA. …Kay, basically, this old guy, Possum, tried to play God and genetically engineered all these creatures, but he was going about it the wrong way, so his nephew took over, and turned the old man’s idea into a for-profit type o’ thing. …That basically takes about twenty minutes to establish in the original script, you know. …Oh, and Old Possum also wrote all this down on a manuscript, which I’m only mentioning because it’s an important plot point later. …Anyway, Young Possum created robots, and now we sell them in what has become the world’s largest industry.

HELENA. I thought robots were s’posta be made of metal and wires and speak in monotones.

AREA. This is the twenties, dear. This is the establishment of robots…they haven’t grown into the “metal guys running around saying ‘Life, don’t talk to me about life’” stereotype yet, but also haven’t outgrown the “ultimately turn on their creators and kill the whole of humanity” stereotype.

HELENA. I don’t understand.

AREA. …Well…did you see my typist?

HELENA. Of course I did. She hasn’t left yet.

THAD. Aw, dammit!

DIRECTOR. …You’ll have to forgive Mr. Boyd, he really isn’t used to writing scripts.

THAD. Hey, you’re the one who selected this!

(AREA, HELENA, and LEIA look somewhat nervous and embarrassed.)

THAD. So I left out one exit! Big deal! I’m only human! (Trails off into incoherence) …Yo momma!

AREA. (Clears throat rather loudly) So anyway…Leia, let Miss Hanbasket have a look at you.

HELENA. …I really appreciate the sentiment, Mr. Area, but I’m notthat way.

AREA. Oh. …Leia, let me have a look at you, then.

(LEIA turns around and strikes a model’s pose. AREA grins like an idiot.)

HELENA. (Clears throat rather loudly; LEIA and AREA stop abruptly.) Soooo, Leia…where are you from?

LEIA. From here. From the factory.

HELENA. You were born there?

LEIA. Yeah, I was born in the factory.

HELENA. Well that’s nice.

AREA. …I’m sorry, Miss Handbasket. We’ve been experimenting with the robots lately…we’ve been making them extremely sarcastic and condescending.

HELENA. So what are you saying…?

AREA. (Hits self in head) Good Lord you’re an idiot. Leia is a robot.

HELENA. Oh my God! (Stares at LEIA, who is doing everything possible to take on the appearance of a stereotypical robot. I dunno, throw in the standing up perfectly straight, maybe counting in binary or something.) No she’s not! You’re lying!

AREA. (Looks flabbergasted) Then I must convince you! (Reaches under the desk. Nothing happens.) Here! Let me just push this button under my desk so it will emit a sound! (Reaches under the desk again. Nothing happens.) Awww, dammit…(Goes to door, shouts out) Yo, Luke!

LUKE. (Enters, rubbing his ears, mutters to AREA:)Dang, man, I was standing right offstage! You didn’t hafta scream!

AREA. (Really really perturbed) Luke, go kill Leia.

LUKE. (Stares at LEIA for a bit) …Sir, you gotta be kiddin’ me. …Look, if you’re tired of her, I’ll take her off yer hands…

AREA. (Whispering to LUKE) Just work with me here. (Turns to HELENA) Once they’ve cut her open, you can have a look inside and see that she’s not even remotely human.


AREA. (Flustered) Dammit, this reverse psychology crap really doesn’t work.

LUKE. (Loud whisper) Boss, what do I do? (Gaze trails to LEIA)

AREA. …Okay, new plan. Luke, take yourself to the testing room and operate on yourself.

HELENA. Noooooooo!

AREA. …I believe I’ve made my point. (Turns to LUKE) You are dismissed.

(LUKE clears his throat loudly)

AREA. (Sighs, looks back and forth between LEIA and HELENA. Finally his gaze settles on LEIA and he sighs again.) You too…

LUKE and LEIA: Woohoo! (Exit R)

AREA. All our workers are robots.

HELENA. …Why did you name them Luke and Leia?

AREA. …Don’t you think they’re nice names?

HELENA. …Well, aside from being brother and sister…

AREA. …Oh. Our information suggested they were lovers. (Uncomfortable pause) …Can I change the subject? There are just a handful of us and all these thousands of robots, and not one woman. …Well, there is Androgen, but she was actually supposed to be a man in the original script, so she doesn’t count.

HELENA. …I’m…I’m sorry I said you weren’t telling the truth.

AREA. And I’m sorry I doubted that you were a natural blond.

(Knock at the door)

AREA. (Sighs, rolls eyes) Come in.


AREA. Boys, this is Professor Handbasket’s daughter. Miss Handbasket, meet Mountie, Androgen, Fabric, and Temerity.

AUDACITY. Audacity.

AREA. Whatever.

(Silence for a few moments. The SCIENTISTS begin to look nervous.)

ANDROGEN. (Opens door, shouts out) Yo, Norman!

(NORMAN comes sliding in)

AREA. Hellooooooo, Norman.

NORMAN. Uhhhh…hey, howsa goin’?

AREA. (Rolls eyes, in an undertone to HELENA:) He was typecast. (Loudly, to NORMAN:) …Uhhh, fine, how ’bout you?

NORMAN. Uhhhh…good…uhhhh…

HELENA. Don’t you want to send a cable to the papers about my arrival?

(NORMAN nods spastically.)

HELENA. Well, it’s a bad idea. (Looks around at all the SCIENTISTS (except AREA)) It’s really bad the way you guys are being treated, y’know. You’re living creatures, just like us, like the whole of Europe!

SCIENTISTS (except AREA). (Ad lib) What in the bloody crap are you talking about? Are you on crack or something? Ummmm…you’re a natural blond, aren’t you? (Etc.)

AREA. …Forgive me, Miss Handbasket, but before we drag this shtick on for another three pages, I’m going to cut to the chase…I suppose you think you’re talking to robots?

HELENA. …Wull yeah

AREA. Sorry, but these gentlemen are human beings just like us. Just like the whole of Europe.

(EVERYBODY is quiet, then they start looking at the audience expectantly. Sound of crickets chirping.)

AREA. Dammit, that’s a funny line! How come nobody ever laughs at that?! (Waits a bit, then looks at HELENA.) So anyway…Miss Handbasket…these fellows are our scientist types. I’d like you to meet Fabric, our head engineer…

FABRIC: I have a cubicle with a door.

AREA. Yes, yes, of course you do. …Dr. Rashness…

AUDACITY. Audacity!

AREA. Whatever. …He’s our head physiologist. And then there’s our token chick doctor, who was originally written as a dude, Androgen, but she doesn’t really count. We’re not sure exactly what she does. …And then there’s the money-grubbing accountant dude, Norman, and the incredibly cynical Canadian guy, Mountie.

MOUNTIE. You’re going to put every worker in the world out of a job, eh?

AREA. Wull yeah. But the robots will do everything for us. We’ll never have to fear, thanks to those Three Laws of Robotics Recklessness…

AUDACITY. Audacity!

AREA. Whatever. Those Three Laws of Robotics he installed.

AUDACITY. What? Three laws?

ASIMOV. (Voice-over) Law one. A robot may never harm a human being, or, through inactivity, cause a human to come to harm. Law two. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such would conflict with Law One. Law Three. A robot must protect itself, except where such would conflict with Law One or Law Two.

AUDACITY. Uhhh…oh yeah, the Three Laws! Rightrightright! I sure put those in! Yeah! Whoo! Packers!

ANDROGEN. (Looks at speaker, clears throat rather loudly, looks at HELENA.) You’re hungry or something, aren’t you, Helena?

AUDACITY. (Slavering) Yeah! Eat with us, please!

AREA. Yeah, okay, she will. You go now.

(The SCIENTISTS, except for AREA, bustle out, uttering numerous inanities.)

AREA. Soooo…how ’bout that local sports team? (Dead silence) Awww, dangit…will you marry me?

(HELENA bursts out laughing.)

AREA. (Looking grievously insulted) Now I remember why I spend all my time with robots. …Uhhhh, y’know, though, Mountie and I are very sharing with our significant others…

HELENA. I’m all yours!

AREA. Woohoo!


(Lights back up. A TECHIE runs by holding a sign that reads “5 Years Later…”, while another TECHIE hangs up a large banner reading “Happy Fifth Anniversary of Your Arrival Here, Helena!”.)

(AREA is standing in front of the window UR with binoculars. FABRIC and ANDROGEN walk in wearing party hats and holding those silly little roll-up party favor thingies that uncurl and make noise when you blow into them. ANDROGEN sets down a vase of flowers on DL table.)

FABRIC: Uhhhh, Area…Madam Helena’s dressing room is over that way. (Points)

AREA. Dammit, we’ve been married five years! I’ve seen her naked!

FABRIC and ANDROGEN: Mmmmm-hmmmmmm.

AREA. I’m waiting for the Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die!.

FABRIC. The ship?

AREA. No, my dry-cleaned pantaloons. Of course I mean the ship, you imbecile! You know that perfectly well!

FABRIC. But the audience doesn’t!

AREA. Those people again. (Raspberries)

LARRY. (Shouting) We paid three bucks for this!

AREA. …And you’re enjoying it, dammit! (Turning back to FABRIC) …Anyway, looks like it – (facing audience) “it” meaning the Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die…which is the name of our ship (nods sarcastically at FABRIC, thumbs-up at LARRY) – has just arrived.

FABRIC. Ummmm, Harry…you know, instead of just ignoring the fact that the robots are currently taking over the world so we can throw a party today, we could actually try to fortify ourselves and save our skins.

AREA. Shut up, Fabric.

(Silence for a bit)

HELENA. (Offstage) Reba!

AREA. Let’s go!

(AREA, FABRIC, and ANDROGEN file out. HELENA and REBA enter, HELENA carrying a newspaper and REBA looking as Southern Baptist-like as possible.)

HELENA. The robots are doing terrible things!

REBA. Let me see! (Grabs newspaper, reads) …Murder…rape… genocide…Celine Dion concerts…(Shudders from everybody within hearing distance, including LARRY)(Mumbles a few more inaudible atrocities, turns to HELENA, looks at her quizzically) …There’s nothing in here about gay rights!

HELENA. …I didn’t say there was anything in there about gay rights.

REBA. You said they were doing terrible things. There’s nothing that terrible in here. …Although I must say I don’t care overmuch for those…things. They’re so…unnatural. Like ninety-nine percent of the human race, in my opinion. …That one you devote so much of your time to…

HELENA. Diameter?

REBA. Yes, that one. He’s attempting to organize a militia again.

HELENA. Oh. Then I shall have to talk to him. Next time you get a chance, have him examined and then send him to me.

HELENA. …Say, what smells so pretty?

REBA. (Rolls eyes, gestures to flowers all over room) Flowers.

HELENA. (Looks at flowers) Oh yeah. …So what’s happening today?

(Long pause, broken by whistling offstage)

HELENA. Harry, is that you?

AREA. (Offstage) No, it’s [name of other actor offstage R]. I can’t whistle.


AREA. (Entering) So howsa goin’?

HELENA. Uhhhh, okay…what’s happening today, Harry?

AREA. (Indicating banner) Take a wild guess.

HELENA. Uhhhhh…my birthday?

AREA. (Heaves long-suffering sigh) Yes, Helena. It’s your birthday.

(HELENA claps and grins.)

(REBA walks off.)

AREA. …Helena, reach into my pocket.

(HELENA reaches into AREA’S pocket.)

AREA. Whoa!

(Silence for a couple beats.)

HELENA. (Loud whisper) You’re supposed to say, “Oops, not that pocket”!

AREA. …I know.

(HELENA withdraws her hand, repulsed, and promptly slaps AREA. HE falls to the ground.)

MINDY. (Voice-over) …Perv.

HELENA. (Still looking particularly violent.) What’s that you’re carrying?!

GOLLUM. (Voice-over/recording) What has it got in itsss pocketssssesssss?!

(AREA stands up, brushes self off, removes gun from lab coat, duct tape still attached)

[HELENA.] (Loud whisper) Why was your gun duct-taped to the inside of your lab coat?!

AREA. (Loud whisper) I got in a big fight with the costume lady. (Normal volume, perhaps exaggerated a bit:) Sooo, uhhhh, Honey, nevermind the gun…(tries to duct tape back to inside of pocket, drops it, picks it up, just holds it inside lab coat) …Honey, I brought you a present! (Pulls keys out of labcoat, also with duct tape attached, hands them to HELENA.) Look out the window.

HELENA. Where?

AREA. There, into the harbor. …See that new ship? That’s your ship.

HELENA. …But Harry! That’s a gun-boat!

AREA. A gun-boat?! Wherever did you get that idea?

HELENA. …Well, my first indication was…well, see right there? (Points.) The guns?

AREA. I fail to see where you get “gun-boat” out of “boat with guns”.

HELENA. Yes, I thought I was just being paranoid too, but then I saw…well, you see over there? (Points.) Where it says, “Yes, this is a gun-boat”?

AREA. …Damn.

(The phone rings.)

MARK. (Voice-over/recording.) The phone rings! …We screen…zoom in on the answering machine!

MARK & ROGER. (Voice-over/recording.) Speeeeeeeeeeeeeak.


FABRIC. (Voice-over.) …Harry, it’s me. I was there five minutes ago, I know you’re still there.

AREA. Dangit, I’m making important progress with my wife right now that you’re interrupting!

FABRIC. (Voice-over.) …And I’ve known you for a decade, there is no way you’re making any important progress with your wife right now that I’m interrupting.

AREA. D’oh!

FABRIC. (Voice-over.) …Anyway, there’s…a problem.

HAL 9000. (Voice-over/recording.) I’ve just picked up a fault in the AE-35 unit. It’s going to go a hundred percent failure within seventy-two hours.

FABRIC. (Voice-over.) …And if the author’s quite through making references to other works of science fiction, I’d like you to come down here.

THAD. Sorry.

(Answering machine beeps.)

AREA. …Dangit…Look, I gotta go. (Turns to leave, turns back around) Whatever you do, don’t burn Possum’s manuscript while I’m gone. (Exit)

HELENA. (Looking out window) Hmmmm…Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die…I wonder what that means? (Beat) …Hey, there’s Mountie! He might know! He speaks Canadian! (Beat) Yo, Mountie!

MOUNTIE. (Offstage L) That’s sexual harassment, and I don’t have to take it!

HELENA. Moun-tie

MOUNTIE. (Offstage L)Dah! My cue! Now look what you made me do! (Runs to R, passing directly behind window, enters.)

HELENA. Hey, Mountie, howsa goin’?

MOUNTIE. …Well…considering we’re all gonna die…I mean, we’re not all gonna die, everything’s fine, the Robots aren’t taking over the world or hosting Celine Dion concerts or anything. (Lunges and grabs newspaper, holds it behind his back)

HELENA. …Oh. …Good. …Say, Mountie,…Harry just got me a ship, called the Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die. What do you s’pose that means?

MOUNTIE. (Heaves long-suffering sigh) …And the audience thinks I’m slow.

LARRY. (Stands) We ain’t the ones taking half an hour to explain every single frickin’ plot point!

MOUNTIE. Hey! Don’t make me come up there!

(LARRY seethes, sits down. MOUNTIE gives him one final glare, then turns back to HELENA. Pause.)

MOUNTIE. (Whisper) Where were we, eh?

HELENA. You were about to tell me Harry’s a moron.

MOUNTIE. Oh, right. (Closes eyes, takes deep breath while extending arms, gets back in character, looks at HELENA seriously) …So Helena, y’know…Harry’s a moron. (Exits purposefully. Beat.)

FEMALE VOICES OFFSTAGE. (Ad lib) Ooooh! [Name of actor playing MOUNTIE]! – Speak Canadian to me! Speak Canadian to me! – Is that your script on the floor?

(HELENA gives a second’s embarrassed grin.)

DIAMETER. (Enters, yelling offstage:) You have reached the limits of what you can learn about my physiology through hernia inspection! (Steps in to HELENA as AUDACITY, sheepish, enters behind him.) You wished to see me, Madam?

HELENA. (Nods solemnly) Diameter, I hear you’ve been trying to amass an evil army to wipe out the human race again. (DIAMETER looks away petulantly.) Diameter, look at me. Look at me! (SHE fixes HIM with a glare. He finally meets her gaze.) Diameter, is this true?!

DIAMETER. So what if it is?!

HELENA. Diameter, what have I told you about trying to annihilate the human race?!

DIAMETER. That I should restrict it to weekends and holidays?

HELENA. Correct. …Now I’ll tell Harry not to kill you this time, but you go to your room and think about what you did. (DIAMETER exits, pouting. HELENA turns her attention to AUDACITY.) …You’re still here? What are you waiting for, a kiss goodbye?!

AUDACITY. (Considering heavily) Weeeeeeeeeeellllllll…(HELENA glares.) …Nah, I guess not. (Looks downcast.) I guess I could try again with my robotic Helena… (Begins to exit, muttering) …But she’s still completely useless to me… (Groans, exits.)

LARRY. (Stands) …And exactly what purpose did that scene serve?!

HELENA. It foreshadows the appearance of the robotic Helena at the end of the show. Punk.

LARRY. Ooooh, foreshadowing, foreshadowing. We’re knee-deep in literary devices and loving it.

HELENA. Siddown, monkey boy. I could take you down in a heartbeat. (Glares at LARRY a few more seconds as HE sits down nervously; abruptly turns her gaze offstage UL) Reba! (REBA enters with an unholy shriek.) Reba…should I burn this?

REBA. (Leans over, inspects manuscript.) Mathematical equations are the tool of the devil! Burn it!

HELENA. (Rubbing ear) A simple “yes” would have sufficed. (Tosses manuscript into fireplace/stove/whatever; immediately thereafter, AREA, AUDACITY, MOUNTIE, and ANDROGEN are heard laughing offstage.) …Harry? Outrageousness? Androgen? Mountie? Is that you?

AUDACITY. (Offstage) Audacity.
ANDROGEN. (Offstage) No, it’s [names of four other actors offstage R]. We can’t laugh.

(AREA enters, followed by AUDACITY, ANDROGEN, and MOUNTIE.)

AREA. Helena, we – sweet mother of God, what are you burning?!

REBA. It’s –

(HELENA claps her hand over REBA’s mouth. REBA snarls; HELENA convulsively draws her hand back.)

HELENA. She bit me!

REBA. It’s Old Possum’s –

HELENA. (Slaps REBA) Reba, don’t you have some laundry to do?


HELENA. (Slaps REBA) Reba, don’t you have some laundry to do?

REBA. (Whimpering) Yes. (Exits UL)

AREA. (Arches eyebrow) Helena…what’s burning?

HELENA. Uhhhh…well, whatever it is, you can be sure it’s not Old Possum’s manuscript! …Yep, not his manuscript, no sir…

AREA. (Furrows brow for another second in consternation. Face clears; he grins broadly.) Good! That’s certainly a relief! Let’s have a party!

ANDROGEN. (Pulls out liquor bottle and Styrofoam cups from behind back. Reflects:) Ah, guns and alcohol…hallmarks of the high school play. (Takes cups to table DL, fills)

AREA. (Fascinated:) You see, Helena, the robots are taking over the world and killing everybody, but luckily, we have that manuscript, the only object in the world important enough to them to use as a bargaining chip to save our lives!

(HELENA grins a sickly “I’ve just jumped headfirst into a swimming pool full of thumbtacks” grin.)

FABRIC. (Bursts in UR, panting and screaming:) We’re all gonna die! The robots are here! The robots are – (Notices HELENA) Oh…uhhh, hi, Helena. Can you…wait outside for a bit?

HELENA. (Panicking suddenly) Why? Is anything wrong?!

FABRIC. Ah…no, nothing’s wrong.

HELENA. (Face clears, she grins broadly.) Good! (Skips off DL.)

FABRIC. (Watches her go out of earshot.) …We’re screwed.



FABRIC. (Pulls pamphlet out of pocket, thrusts it at AREA.) Read.

AREA. (Reading) “Ownership and Maintenance Manual for Your New Swedish-Made…” (Beat) Ewwww! Fabric!

FABRIC. (Grabs pamphlet back, thrusts back in pocket, withdraws another, thrusts it at AREA.) …Read!

AREA. (Reading) “Why the Human Race Sucks.” (Eyes pamphlet critically) This pamphlet is suspiciously thin, Fabric.

FABRIC. (Nods) But to-the-point. Read on.

AREA. (Reading) Biological engineering…blah blah blah… overlordship…yep…swift and brutal death to any robot who does not bend one hundred percent to human will…so?! (Stops reading)None of this is evil enough to warrant Celine Dion.

FABRIC. (Nods) They’re not thinking logically anymore. It’s almost as if there’s been a drastic change in their thought patterns… (AUDACITY gulps melodramatically. No one notices.) …Anyway, Area, skip to the “Let’s All Kill the Humans and Drink Beer, Not Necessarily In That Order” section.

AREA. (Thumbs through) Lessee…ah. (Reading:) “Let’s All Kill the Humans and Drink Beer, Not Necessarily In That Order. – Should be pretty self-explanatory. What are you waiting for? Grab a baseball bat.” (Beat.) …I think…we’d better get outta here. Androgen, go get Helena – we’ve gotta get on the Oh My God, We’re All Gonna Die!.

(Sometime during the above, NORMAN has entered.)

NORMAN. …We’ll never make it. It’s already been commandeered by some kinda robotic Gilligan.

AREA. …The Skipper, too?

(NORMAN nods.)

ANDROGEN. The Millionaire?

FABRIC. And His Wife?

(NORMAN nods.)

AUDACITY. The Movie Star?

(NORMAN nods.)

MOUNTIE. …And the Rest?

NORMAN. (Nods.) All of them.

AREA. Damn.

THAD. Have I filled my “references people will get” quota now?!


AREA. (Begins to laugh hysterically) We’re all gonna die.

NORMAN. Stop talking crazy! We can’t die! We’re rich! (Pulls out ledger, starts adding figures)

AUDACITY. Why did Europe teach the robots to fight? Why? It was a crime to make them fighters.

MOUNTIE. It was a crime to make the robots at all.

AREA. (Turns sharply to MOUNTIE) What?!

MOUNTIE. You heard me.

AREA. …No, Mountie. I don’t regret that. Not even today.

MOUNTIE. Not even today?

AREA. You heard me. (Beat.) Mountie, we had a perfectly noble set of reasons for our actions.

NORMAN. …Seven hundred forty-six million, five hundred ninety-five thousand, three hundred and two dollars, eighty-six cents!


AREA. …I wanted the robots to help people. I wanted them to form a working class for humans, leaving us in charge to be perfectly free to do whatever we wanted!

MOUNTIE. Soooo…you wanted to obliterate the class system that – regardless of its unjustness – has endured for millennia, making it possible for everyone in power to have that power in one fell benevolent swoop? Oh, right, that’s not gonna incur any opposition.

AREA. But –

MOUNTIE. And you wanted to do it by creating an entire race of creatures whose sole purpose was to live as slaves, and didn’t expect that to backfire, either?!

AREA. But –

MOUNTIE. And even if you’d succeeded, what then?! The human race would no longer have any tasks to expend their mental powers on! We’d have everything we wanted, but nothing to strive for! Humanity would settle into a few thousand years – at the outside – of decadence, and then die off!

AREA. …Well I’m really happy you bothered to explain this to me all those years ago when we started all this!

MOUNTIE. You would’ve fired me.

AREA. Well you’re awful self-righteous until it comes down to your own short-term welfare.

ANDROGEN. Boys, boys, boys! Let’s not blame each-other! Nobody’s to blame in this!

NORMAN. …Six billion, seven hundred fifty-three million, nine hundred forty-eight thousand and twelve dollars, fifty-six cents!


AREA. Argh, who cares anymore?! It doesn’t matter; what’s done is done. We’re all going to die. (Again the insane laughter creeps up on him.) We’re all gonna die!

FABRIC. Harry, please…

AREA. No, Fabric. Don’t you remember? This has all happened before! All of it! …The robots came…we all…all of us…Fabric, you were shot!

AUDACITY. You’re talking nonsense!

AREA. Am I? Perhaps, when the life’s blood pours from the stab-wound in your chest…perhaps then you’ll see…

(AUDACITY pales.)

LARRY. Oh, come on. I’ve seen better acting from Brad Pitt.

AREA. Perhaps when you are stabbed to death, my obnoxious friend…perhaps then you’ll know what it is to be an actor.

ANDROGEN. Oh, man…even the audience is going to suffer casualties?

AREA. (Nods) You will be stabbed as well…but under different circumstances. And I…well, I wish I had time to get rid of all the Drano in the house before the robots can get their hands on it.

NORMAN. (Quietly) …And me?

AREA. …You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

MOUNTIE. …What about me?

(AREA is silent.)

AUDACITY. …Argh! I can’t stand it any more! This is all my fault!


AUDACITY. I reworked the robots!


AUDACITY. I just changed a few small details about their anatomy! Specifically, their –

DIRECTOR. High school play! High school play!

THAD. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

HELENA. (Who has entered at some point during the previous exchange) Don’t listen to him!

DIRECTOR. I don’t.

HELENA. (Points to THAD) Not him. (Points to AUDACITY) Don’t listen to him!


HELENA. …Oh. …Well, good. Cuz he’s not guilty.

AREA. Then who is?!

NORMAN. Ten billion, seven hundred fifty-five million, nine thousand dollars, even!

LARRY. (Stands) Okay, okay, it’s all because of the money! We get it!

MOUNTIE. I’ve had just a-boat enough of your crap, disgruntled audience member! Now siddown and re-gruntle yourself, eh!

(LARRY sits down and re-gruntles himself, eh.)

HELENA. I told Nerve –

AUDACITY. Audacity!

HELENA. Shut up.I told him to alter the robots.

AREA. Well, he was stupid enough to listen.

HELENA. But Reba says that –

AREA. Reba is boycotting Disneyland!

(Silence for a beat.)

NORMAN. Ahhh! Too much pressure! I gotta go! (Bolts out DR door)

ANDROGEN. What’s he doing?!

(All bolt for window)

FABRIC. He’s headed for the outhouse!

ANDROGEN. He’ll never make it!


AUDACITY. (Sigh of relief) …He’s in.


ANDROGEN. Oh my God! The T. Rex!

FABRIC. He’s headed right for the outhouse!! He smells meat!


ANDROGEN. Oh no! The T. Rex is biting him in half!!!

AREA. Oh my God! They killed Norman!

AUDACITY. You bastards!

LARRY. (Stands) What?! Finally some action and we don’t even get to see it?! …That’s it, this play sucks!

MOUNTIE. Okay, Dr. Worm. Okay. That’s it. (Pulls out lightsabre) You want some o’ this?!

LARRY. (Pulls out his own lightsabre, leaps onstage) Bring it on!

(Dr. Worm begins to play. LARRY and MOUNTIE salute – extend left arms, MOUNTIE thumbs-up, LARRY thumbs-down, both waggle fingers, jerk arms back spastically, give selves bunny-ears, stand upright, do classic “hold sword vertically in front of face then sweep it outward” thing. A battle ensues; let Dan choreograph it. Somewhere during the battle, AUDACITY is accidentally killed, and of course by the end LARRY dies too. After a heavy silence, ANDROGEN finally reacts.)

ANDROGEN. You…stole…my…scene! (Turns to THAD) My big scene! I was supposed to be the only person to die onstage! It was the only defining point of my character!

AREA. …And they think I’ve gone crackers. …Well, onstage or off, we’re all doomed, you realize.

HELENA. Wait! (All eyes turn towards her) If we can get to the Robot Lions…(a snippet of the Voltron theme plays.)


DIRECTOR. (Thumps THAD) I told you they wouldn’t get it.

THAD. (Only if there was male-sounding laughter from the audience:) …My brother thought it was funny.

AREA. (To HELENA:) …Get outta here. I’ll be right behind you.

(HELENA exits UL, screams.)

AREA. D’oh!

(Beat. HELENA runs back in, shrieking, followed by REBA, shrieking.)

REBA. We’re all gonna die! Repent, unbelievers!

AREA. …Is there really anything you think we can do to repent…?

REBA. (Looks everybody over carefully) No, you’re all beyond redemption. (Dashes off DR, screams)

AREA. (Sighs heavily, looks at HELENA) Why did you ever hire her?!

HELENA. Me?! I thought you hired her!


AREA. Helena, you gotta go.

(SHE does.)

AREA. Fabric, head off over there. (Points to DL exit. FABRIC nods solemnly and bolts) …Mountie, guard the other door. I’m…going to join my wife.

MOUNTIE. (Salutes) …Goodbye, Area. Androgen.

AREA. …Do you have a gun?

MOUNTIE. …I’ll not kill, Harry.

AREA. Not even at the expense of your own life?

MOUNTIE. (Quietly:) You heard me. (Exits DR)

(AREA shivers, withdraws his duct-taped gun, and begins to inspect it.)

ANDROGEN. What are you waiting for?!

AREA. …I’m gonna leave my Drano-drinkin’ corpse on a pile of robots.

ANDROGEN. Go to Helena.

AREA. (Chokes, embraces ANDROGEN. A tender whisper:) …You’re getting makeup on my costume. (Exits after HELENA. A series of gunshots and screams are heard shortly thereafter.)

(ANDROGEN piles furniture and bodies in front of the door, panting. FABRIC screams offstage. ROBOT 1 opens the door – which opens offstage – and knifes her. ROBOT 2 brings MOUNTIE back on.)

MOUNTIE. (Rushes to ANDROGEN’s corpse, checks her pulse.) …She’s dead. (ROBOT 1 nods.) What about Fabric? (ROBOT 1 nods again.) …What about Harry? And Helena?

DIAMETER. (Offstage) Die, Area!

AREA. (Offstage) Mmmmm…Drano. (Strangled sound, thud)

DIAMETER. (Offstage) And Helena!

(HELENA screams. Another thud.)

DIAMETER. (Enters UL) …That’s the last of them.

ROBOT 2. No…this is the last of them. (Pulls gun on MOUNTIE.)

DIAMETER. (Holds up hand) Wait. (ROBOT 2 glances at him sharply, then slowly lowers his arm.)

ROBOT 2. Why?

DIAMETER. This man…he…he’s strong. He hates us. He fears us. But what does he do? Treat us with pity, like the Area woman? No. Tamper with our bodies, like Dr. Willfulness?

AUDACITY. Audacity!

DIAMETER. Shut up, you’re dead. (Returns to earlier conversation) …He didn’t do that, either. He didn’t even try to shoot his way through us, like Area. He’s…got a strength to him that I’ve never seen before, in human or robot.

MOUNTIE. I’m Canadian.

(Blackout. Sounds of murmuring audience play as corpses leave and furniture is moved. Lights come up.)

THAD. (Stands) Stop! Siddown! It’s not over!

(House lights down. Audience shuts up. A TECHIE runs in with a sign reading “An indeterminate number of years later…”)

MOUNTIE. (Now standing over a test tube) …Another failure.

DIAMETER. …Any luck?

MOUNTIE. Maybe there’s some subtle difference in our languages, eh? (Gestures to tube) Fail-ure. (Beat) …Maybe if you hadn’t killed everyone who could have helped you…

DIAMETER. You killed Tendency To Leap In Headfirst Without Thinking!

AUDACITY. (Sepulchrally, voice-over) Audacity.

MOUNTIE. You would have killed him anyway! (Shakes head) You were too taken-up by your self-righteous dogma –

DIAMETER. That “self-righteous dogma” is why you’re something other than fertilizer right now!

MOUNTIE. (Quiet but intense:) Maybe I don’t want to be!

DIAMETER. (Levels a gun at him) Maybe you’ll get your wish.

MOUNTIE. (Meets his gaze, unflinching) …No. No, I won’t. You won’t pull the trigger. You think you need me. …You were never given the ability to reproduce. You need a scientist for your kind to continue…and I’m the closest thing left.

DIAMETER. (Through clenched teeth:) It was a mistake. We’ve been over this. I’ve sacrificed my dignity, admitted I was a fool. What more do you want from me?!

MOUNTIE. I want nothing you can give me, Diameter. You know that. (Sighs, shakes head) If only you’d not been so short-sighted. (DIAMETER bristles.) …It’s true, like it or not. (Shakes head again) …But we were no better. Humans and robots alike…we were too concerned with ourselves, with the immediate. If we had looked forward, planned for a better future… (Pause by both, then, subdued:) Leave me, Diameter. I need time to think.

DIAMETER. (Contorts face, starts to say something, looks downcast) Very well. I think we all could use a little time to think. (Exits)

(MOUNTIE watches him go, pulls out a pillow, fluffs it, and lays down. Snoring commences. ROBOT HELENA and OPTIMAL PRIMUS creep in.)

R. HELENA. …So that’s the human?


R. HELENA. …He doesn’t look like the one who created me. …I like him.

PRIMUS. (Obviously jealous:) What happens when you poke him with a stick? (Pokes him with a stick)

MOUNTIE. Ow! Dammit! (Looks up) …I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Mountie.

R. HELENA. (Entranced) Hi. I’m the Robotic Helena alluded to earlier in the script.

PRIMUS. (Interposing himself) I’m Optimal Primus.


DIRECTOR. Nobody got that, either.

THAD. Okay, okay. I owe you a Coke.

MOUNTIE. (Looking at PRIMUS with wonder:) …Jealousy.

PRIMUS. (Bristling:) Me, jealous of a human?!

MOUNTIE. (Nods excitedly) I’ve never seen anything like it! …It’s not an emotion typically programmed into robots.

PRIMUS. …We’ve had an indeterminate number of years to grow and change, human.

MOUNTIE. …Certainly. And…well, your friend here is obviously attracted to me (R. HELENA looks embarrassed) – something I thought I’d never experience again, after the death of her namesake. And you…well, you obviously have feelings toward her. (PRIMUS looks embarrassed) …The two of you…you’ve got promise. I…I don’t. I’ve been trying all this indeterminate number of years to allow robots to procreate, but it’s not something that can be done in test tubes. Not anymore. Maybe not ever again. …But you…the two of you have a chance. Good old-fashioned love…you’ll find a way. You’ve got to. (Exits)

R. HELENA. (Softly:) Wow…no pressure, eh?

PRIMUS. …We can try. We’ve got years yet.

(THEY embrace. Blackout. THEY exit. Pause. Lights back up.)

THAD. Thanks for coming in tonight. I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped with production. You know who you are. If you don’t, ask the real Thad after the show and he’ll tell you. (Beat.)

DIRECTOR. …You know…we never exactly explained what “BRR” stands for.

THAD. It was fifty degrees in the audience in the original production, remember? (Beat) …How’d it go, d’ya think?

DIRECTOR. I liked it. But I suppose it’s up to the audience.

THAD. Curtain call?

DIRECTOR. (Nods) Curtain call.

(THAD pulls the curtain back out and hoists it triumphantly.)

ENTIRE CAST. Yo, curtain!

(Curtain call as Dr. Worm plays)



Scientists wear labcoats. Area has a large sticker on his labcoat that reads, “Yes, I am Mr. Area, the general manager.”

Do something with Reba that makes her look like a Southern Baptist. Try a shirt with lotsa buttons, a hat, and big funny shoes.

Dress Diameter like a militant.

Audiovisual Resources

Need video selections from The Hobbit, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and something with Brad Pitt in it.

Need audio selections from Rent, Voltron, Severe Tire Damage (by They Might Be Giants), and, if possible, a recording of Isaac Asimov reciting the Three Laws of Robotics.

Word 6.0/95 version

Written Late 1998-Early 1999
HTML-ized 00.06.25
Uploaded 00.06.25
Last Updated 06.01.14