Comedy by Alan Ayckbourn
Translated by Corinna Brocher and Peter Zadek
Composer Jerome is working obsessively on a grand contemporary piece on the topic of “love”. As he is sampling and modulating everyday sounds and fragments of speech, every single room in his flat is equipped with microphones, so that he can continuously record the soundscape around him.
But Jerome has a problem: Since his wife and daughter have left him – not least because of his artistic wire-tapping mania – he has gone into a crisis regarding his work. He feels a loss of artistic inspiration. In order to be able to work creatively again, he would at least have to be able to see his beloved daughter from time to time. So far, however, both the youth welfare worker and his ex-wife are in serious doubt regarding his social skills. They continue to reject his requests for his daughter’s visits. So Jerome hires an actress to play his new fiancée and a perfect housewife...
Ayckbourn’s first science-fiction comedy is a theatrical experiment that deals with the relationship between man and machine, lived emotions and reproducible gestures, from which it derives its unsurpassed situational comedy. At the centre is Android GOU 300 F, who has been repeatedly re- and misprogrammed. He/she/it was originally designed for babysitting, but was re-called for security reasons. Not having a child to look after, the highly complex android suffers from chronic underemployment. So the maternal machine starts to autonomously fill the slack in the operating system by ludicrously and mechanically copying the speech acts, gestures and patterns of behaviour of his/her/its human environment. Thus, as Jerome is busy recording the soundscape of his life and love in order to compose the perfect work of art, the actress who tries to play the perfect lover starts falling in love with him, all the while a dysfunctional robot copies and caricatures every single one of their actions.
Photos © Klaus Lefebvre