Of all the jobs robots could take from humans, actor seems the most unlikely. How would a robot portray complex emotions such as grief or delight? The Washington University Performing Arts Department will find out with its production of Elizabeth Birkenmeier's drama Sky Sky Sky. The story is set in 2062, when robots perform the role of caregiver in nursing homes. Joan suffers from dementia and no longer connects with her adopted daughter -- but she's forming an attachment to her robot attendant, Mauve, played by a fully operational PR2 robot on loan from Oregon State University. The PR2 has been programmed using movement training exercises that human actors learn in order to achieve something recognizably human in its actions. The world premiere of Sky Sky Sky opens this weekend.
8 p.m. Thu. & Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. (Mar. 26-29). A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre at Washington University's Mallinckrodt Center (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-935-6543 or www.edisontheatre.wustl.edu). $10 to $15.
March 26-27, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 28, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., March 29, 2 p.m., 2015