Bob Moyler image by bernhard winkler

The performance adventures and novelty acts of Bob Moyler and friends







Hacking The Android Circuit (2017)

Location: CCA-Glasgow, Scotaland
Words: Torch-rnn
Performance: The Robot and Bob (The iRobot 533, Bob Moyler, Susan Robertson, Andrew Scade)
Technician: John Pooley
Image: Ingrid Mur
Supported by Creative Scotland, University of Glasgow, National Library Scotland, CCA-Glasgow. An adaptation of 'The Android Circuit' by Tom McGrath. Permission for using original scripts was kindly given by the Tom McGrath Trust and Traverse Theatre

The Robot and Bob perform a unique cyborg adaptation of Tom McGrath’s science fiction play The Android Circuit, featuring a robot vacuum cleaner and live collaboration with artificial intelligence.

“The Android Circuit is a science fiction comedy with direct relevance to the present day. It mixes physics with sexuality, electronics with frail humanity to produce a fable which moves with telling effect between the serious and the comic. Astro lives in a dying universe, suffering from the effects of encroaching entropy. In his space capsule he spends his days searching for a way to recreate organic life, his nights pursuing various ‘earthly’ hobbies. In all of this he is ably assisted by his faithful companion Sylvester…

Feeling a need for female company, Astro places an order for a female android to be sent to his capsule. There are no real women left in existence, but the android–a robot clad in human flesh–is said to resemble a woman in every respect but one. Her name is Ruby Pulse, called after the most powerful laser beam known to man…

On her arrival in the capsule she announces that Astro must open the Android Circuit. This, she hints will be the answer to his entropic problems…”

The Android Circuit (1978) was written by Scottish playwright Tom McGrath. The above description is taken from the original programme from the 1978 production at the Traverse theatre in Edinburgh. In a later series of interviews with Gavin Selerie in 1983 (The Riverside Interviews) he described it as “a stab at something new” explaining that “It seemed that the theatre was lagging behind in its reflection of technology”. Hacking The Android Circuit confronts and builds upon McGrath’s vision of “man as a technological being”. The performance seeks to re-address notions of gender, entropy and what it means to be human and/or non-human. The Robot and Bob take pleasure in confusing boundaries and present a fresh vision of the technology/human hybrid. In the spirit of McGrath himself, The Robot and Bob take a stab at something new.

In order to do this The Robot and Bob first collaborate live with an Artificial Intelligence called Torch-rnn to create unique new samples from the plays original text (three different versions of the play were obtained from the Scottish Theatre Archive and National Library Scotland). Torch-rnn is a recurrent neural network, a type of Artificial Intelligence that uses deep learning to train itself on a data set and then create new data based upon what it has learnt from the original.

Two humanoid actors then read the new scripts, giving voices to each of the characters and stage directions, while other performers supply bodies for the characters in the centre space. Each humanoid body takes turns to perform Astro, rotating after each scene in an attempt to blur gender. Ruby the android is performed by the robot vacuum cleaner, wearing a bin. Sylvester is a dinner trolley.






Hacking The Android Circuit (2016)

Location: James Arnott Theatre, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Words: Torch-rnn
Performance: The Robot and Bob (The iRobot 533, Bob Moyler, Susan Robertson, Andrew Scade)
Technician: Tony Sweeton
Image: Bob Moyler
Created as part of MLitt Theatre Practices, University of Glasgow. An adaptation of 'The Android Circuit' by Tom McGrath. Permission for using original scripts was kindly given by the Tom McGrath Trust