Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2022  Vol. 21  No. 2
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Producer’s Note
R.U.R. Theatre Guild Edition (Doubleday 1923)

R. U. R. was first performed in New York at the Garrick Theatre on October 9, 1922. It was the first production of the fifth season of The Theatre Guild. The novelty of its idea and the unusual treatment found an immediate and enthusiastic welcome.

The following excerpts from the New York criticisms will be of interest:

Alexander Woolcott in the New York Herald
“The Theatre Guild began its new season last evening with an elaborate production of a play in many respects more remarkable than any it has attempted since it first undertook the task of re-making the American theatre from the vantage point of the once abandoned Garrick. . . .It is murderous social satire, done in terms of the most hair-raising melodrama, It has as many social implications as the most heady of Shavian comedies, and it also has as many frank appeals to the human gooseflesh as ‘The Bat’ or any other latter day thriller.”

Heywood Broun in the New York World
“The play begins as an extraordinary searching study of the nature of human life and human society . . .. Capek is potentially one of the great men in the modern drama. He has devised a scene at the end of the third act as awe-inspiring as anything we have ever seen in the theatre.”

John Corbin in The New York Times
“In the intelligence of its writing, the novelty of its action and the provocative nature of its mood, R. U. R. sustains the high traditions of The Theatre Guild.”

Stephen Rathbun in The New York Evening Sun
R. U. R. is super melodrama—the melodrama of action, plus ideas, a combination that is rarely seen on our stage.”

Maida Castellum in The Call
“The most brilliant satire on our mechanized civilization; the grimmest yet subtlest arraignment of this strange, mad thing we call the industrial society of today, has come to the New York stage this week from Prague in R. U. R.— Karel Capek’s philosophic melodrama.”

New York Globe Editorial—
“One of the most interesting dramas presented in New York in a decade.”

Dr. Frank Crane—
“It is significant of the oneness of the world and the unity of the intellectual life of modern civilization that the freshest and most thoughtful play in America this season comes from Czechoslovakia. It is called R. U. R. . . . The play is very skillfully constructed and is a delightful entertainment.”  

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