Tuesday, September 03, 2002

CMU Combines Drama, Robotics Program

In an effort to both challenge students and cut back on the rising costs of running a private university, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) announced this week that it will combine two of its most well known curricula, Drama and Robotics.

The announcement comes “as the next logical step in the evolution of our university, and of two of our most well-respected course programs here,” said CMU president Jared Cohon. “While our financial situation did weigh heavily on our decision to combine the two programs, it did help to create a fantastically exciting opportunity.”

Cohon hopes CMU will gain recognition world-wide for being the first to take “the natural step of combining the incredibly precise and scientific world of robotics with the heavy emotion and artistry of theatre.”

“We are very excited about the possibilities of our combined drama and robotics programs,” said newly appointed Drama/Robotics faculty chair Janet Washington. “Not only does it provide new opportunities and challenges for our current drama and robotics students, but it offers the University a chance, once again, to be at the forefront of a new and fascinating field.”

“I can’t wait!” exclaimed Herbert Newland, the head designer of one of the program’s thespian robots, Burbage-6, who will portray Hamlet in this fall’s first production of the new Drama / Robotics curricula.

“Well, sure, I’m disappointed,” said Bradley Albertson, who was originally cast to play the title role, “but I’m happy for Burbage-6. It will be interesting to see how this mostly inanimate piece of machinery will be able to handle the depth of one of theatre’s most complex characters ever.” Although all main characters will be played by robots, there are still parts available for “traditional” human actors like Albertson.

“It looks like I’m stuck as Rosencrantz.”

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