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ROBOT

Did you know that the word "ROBOT" comes from the Czech language?
This year the word ROBOT celebrates its 100ths anniversary

On January 25, 2021, it´s been 100 years since the premiere performance of Karel Čapek's theatre play called R. U. R. took the place at the Czech National Theatre in Prague. The word ROBOT first appeared in the play, which soon became an integral part of our everyday life, as well as a global phenomenon and one of the symbols of the emerging technological civilization.

Karel Čapek first came up with a word Labors (inspired by the English word labor, with Latin etymology labore – work, but also hard work, even pain). He was not entirely satisfied. Josef Čapek, his brother and respected painter and writer suggested a word of Slavic root, robot (with the same meaning as the labor, but with a strong stress on serfdom).

Karel Čapek began writing R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) in the early 1920’s, supposing the world premiere would be at the National Theater in Prague by the end of the year. The amateur ensemble from the provincial town of Hradec Králové did not respect the postponement of the first night at the National Theatre, and the world premiere of R.U.R. thus took place at the regional theater stage on January 2, 1921. It was staged at the Czech National Theatre only on January 25, 1921, more than three weeks later.

The American premiere of R.U.R. was staged by The Theatre Guild at the Garrick Theater on Broadway on October 9, 1922.

Čapek’s drama became a hit immediately. It made sense, Čapek cleverly explored an important topic of his time – the potentially destructive influence of technological civilization on society and at the same time created an impressive warning metaphor of modernity controlled not so much by ideas and values as by a self-confident and ruthlessly practical intellect and predatory tycoons.

R.U.R. appealed to the audience wherever the play arrived; in Aachen, Warsaw, Belgrade, New York, London, Vienna, Paris, Tokyo and other cities. The drama was appreciated by H. G. Wells, the famous author of the War of the Worlds who later promoted Čapek’s Nobel Prize nomination.

In 1938, R.U.R. became the first television production of science fiction when it was presented by the BBC as one of its first dramatic acts.

Thanks to Karel Čapek, hundred years ago a robot was born in Prague to become the most famous Czech word of all time. And due to the technological progress, the myth of robot has been transforming into reality of robots.

Source: ROBOT - the most famous Czech word celebrates 100 years | Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ottawa. 302 Found [online].

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