Osaka University — Actors are a tricky bunch. They make crazy demands, throw tantrums, forget their lines and always want to know what their motivation is. Not so with this Osaka-born star, Geminoid F. Reviewers have described her performance as “a bit mechanical”, but it’s a fair description, as she is the world’s most realistic android.
Geminoid F is one of two actors appearing in Sayonara, a work of “Android-Human Theatre” that explores the slippery boundaries between the two categories. Canadian performer Bryerly Long is the other actress, a dying young woman whose parents enlist a robot as her caretaker. The play began as a 20-minute work in Osaka but has now been expanded, and heading abroad to theatres in Melbourne, Australia.
Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro is director of the robotics department at Osaka University, and the creator of the Geminoid series of robots. He first came to international attention when he produced an android identical to himself, which he sometimes uses to deliver lectures and workshops on his behalf. This move into theatre is the result of teaming up with another Osaka University professor, Oriza Hirata, who was interested in the idea of androids in theatre. What next, android theatre critics?