Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Columbia Workshop
Show: R. U. R.
Date: Apr 18 1937

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
NARRATOR (1 line)
RADIUS, a Robot
HARRY DOMIN, General Manager of Rossum's Universal Robots.
SULLA, a Robotess
HELENA GLORY
DR. GALL, Head of the Physiological and Experimental Department of R. U. R.
FABRY, General Technical Manager of R. U. R.
HALLEMEIER, Head of the Institute for Psychological Training of 'Robots
ALQUIST, Architect, Head of the Works Department of R. U. R.
BUSMAN, General Business Manager of R. U. R.
1ST ROBOT
2ND ROBOT
3RD ROBOT
4TH ROBOT
SERVANT, a Robot (1 line)
ROBOTESS HELENA
PRIMUS, a Robot

SOUND:

ELECTRONIC BEEPING ... IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

The Columbia Workshop, under the direction of Irving Reis.

SOUND:

ELECTRONIC BEEPING ... FADES OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the Columbia Workshop offers, as its thirty-sixth production in a series devoted to experimental radio, Karel Capek's famous play of the machine men, "R. U. R."

NARRATOR:

The place -- an island. Time -- the future.

RADIUS:

Rossum's Universal Robots!

MUSIC:

FUTURISTIC, WITH XYLOPHONE ... FOR AN INTRODUCTION

DOMIN:

Ready, Sulla?

SULLA:

Yes.

DOMIN:

To the E. B. Huyson Agency, New York, U.S.A. (DICTATES) "We beg to acknowledge receipt of order for five thousand Robots. As you are sending your own vessel, please dispatch as cargo equal quantities of soft and hard coal for R. U. R., the same to be credited as part payment of the amount due to us. We beg to remain, for Rossum's Universal Robots. Yours truly, Harry Domin, General Manager." (BEAT) Uh, another letter. To E. M. McVicker and Co., Southampton, England. (DICTATES) "We undertake no guarantee for freight damaged in transit. Consequently, we must insist on full payment for the five thousand Robots shipped to you last month. Yours truly," et cetera. That's all, Sulla.

SULLA:

Yes, sir.

DOMIN:

I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, Miss Glory. We've been terribly busy. Now, what can I do for you?

HELENA:

Mr. Domin, I should like to look over your famous factory.

DOMIN:

You no doubt know, Miss Glory, that our method of manufacturing people is a closely guarded secret.

HELENA:

I thought perhaps you'd make an exception.

DOMIN:

Surely, as President Glory's daughter, you've had chance enough to examine the Robots we've sent over to you.

HELENA:

I've observed the way they work, Mr. Domin, that's all.

DOMIN:

I see. Well, Miss Glory, we shall consider it a special honor to show you more than we do the rest. But you must agree not to divulge--

HELENA:

My word of honor.

DOMIN:

Thank you. Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

HELENA:

Well--

DOMIN:

You're very young?

HELENA:

Twenty-one.

DOMIN:

Oh.

HELENA:

Why do you ask?

DOMIN:

I was wondering, that's all. Uh, you will make a long stay with us, won't you?

HELENA:

Well, that depends on how much of the factory you show me.

DOMIN:

You shall see everything. But first, wouldn't you like to hear the story of the invention?

HELENA:

Yes, indeed.

DOMIN:

Well, it was in the year Nineteen Twenty that old Rossum, the great physiologist, took himself to this distant island for the purpose of studying the ocean fauna. At this time, he attempted to imitate the living matter known as protoplasm.

HELENA:

Mm hm.

DOMIN:

He worked until he suddenly discovered a substance which behaved exactly like living matter -- although its chemical composition was different. Miss Glory, that was a tremendous moment.

HELENA:

I imagine it was.

DOMIN:

Now, the thing to do now was to get the life out of the test tube, and form organs, bones, nerves, and the rest. This artificial living matter of his
had a raging thirst for life. And so he set about imitating nature.

HELENA:

And what happened?

DOMIN:

Well, after several years, he made an artificial dog, which died in a few days. And then old Rossum started on the manufacture of man. He was mad, of course. The old crank actually wanted to make people.

HELENA:

But you do make people.

DOMIN:

Oh, approximately, Miss Glory.

HELENA:

Oh, I see.

DOMIN:

Old Rossum decided to manufacture everything as in the human body. It took him ten years to produce a bungling attempt that was to have been a man. It lived for three days only. Then up came young Rossum.

HELENA:

Young Rossum?

DOMIN:

Yes, his son, an engineer.

HELENA:

Oh.

DOMIN:

When he saw what a mess of it his father was making, he said, uh, "It's absurd to spend ten years making a man. If you can't make him quicker than nature, you might as well shut up shop."

HELENA:

What did young Rossum do?

DOMIN:

He invented a worker with the minimum amount of requirements. He rejected man and made a Robot. Mechanically, they are more perfect than we are. They have enormously developed intelligence. But they have no soul.

HELENA:

How do you know they have no soul?

DOMIN:

Have you ever seen what a Robot looks like inside?

HELENA:

No, I haven't.

DOMIN:

Very neat, very simple. Everything in flawless order. An engineer's product. More perfect than a product of nature.

HELENA:

The Robots I've seen are so strange and quiet. Do they live very long?

DOMIN:

The best grade live about twenty years.

HELENA:

(EXHALES) And then they die?

DOMIN:

They get used up.

HELENA:

(EXHALES) Oh.

DOMIN:

Sulla?

SULLA:

(OFF) Yes, sir?

DOMIN:

Come over here.

SOUND:

SULLA'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

DOMIN:

I want you to meet Miss Glory.

SULLA:

How do you do, Miss Glory?

HELENA:

Very well, thank you, Sulla. You must find it terribly dull in this out-of-the-way spot.

SULLA:

I don't know, Miss Glory.

HELENA:

Why? Where do you come from?

SULLA:

From the factory.

HELENA:

Oh. Oh, you were born there?

SULLA:

I was made there.

HELENA:

Made there?!

DOMIN:

(LAUGHS) Sulla is a Robot, the best grade.

HELENA:

A Robot? Oh, she can't be.

DOMIN:

Oh, I admit she doesn't seem to be made of different material from us. We make rather good skin. Feel her face, Miss Glory.

HELENA:

(UNNERVED) No! No, I don't want to do anything of the kind.

DOMIN:

Turn around, Sulla.

SOUND:

SULLA STARTS TO TURN AROUND

HELENA:

Oh, stop. Stop! Sulla's a girl like me. This is outrageous. Sulla, why do you take part in such a hoax?

SULLA:

I am a Robot.

HELENA:

No. No, you're not telling the truth.

DOMIN:

Why, I'm sorry, Miss Glory. Sulla is a Robot.

HELENA:

It's a lie!

DOMIN:

Then I must convince you. I shall take her into the dissecting room and cut her open.

HELENA:

You wouldn't have her killed?!

DOMIN:

Well, you can't kill a machine.

HELENA:

(EXHALES) Are they always so cruel to you, Sulla? You mustn't put up with it! You mustn't!

SULLA:

I am a Robot.

HELENA:

That doesn't matter. Sulla, you wouldn't let yourself be cut to pieces?

SULLA:

Yes.

HELENA:

You're not afraid of death?

SULLA:

I cannot tell, Miss Glory.

HELENA:

Do you know what they will do to you in the dissecting room?

SULLA:

Yes. I should cease to move.

HELENA:

That's death, Sulla. Aren't you afraid of death?

SULLA:

No.

DOMIN:

You see, Miss Glory? The Robots have no interest in life. They have no enjoyments. Why, they're less than so much grass.

HELENA:

Oh, stop. Send her away.

DOMIN:

You may go, Sulla.

SULLA:

Yes, Mr. Domin.

SOUND:

SULLA'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS AND SHUTS AS SHE EXITS

HELENA:

Oh, how terrible. It's outrageous what you're doing.

DOMIN:

Oh, no, Miss Glory. After a while, you will understand.

SOUND:

FACTORY WHISTLE BLOWS

DOMIN:

Ah! There. There's the noon whistle. We have to blow it because the Robots don't know when to stop work. This afternoon, I shall show you the machines that mix the ingredients for a thousand Robots at a time. And the vats for the preparation of liver, brain, and so on. And the bone factory. And the spinning mill.

HELENA:

The spinning mill?

DOMIN:

Yes. For weaving nerves and veins. Miles and miles of digestive tubes pass through it.

HELENA:

Mayn't we talk about something else?

DOMIN:

Oh, perhaps it would be better. Do you know that there are only a handful of us human beings among one hundred thousand Robots, and not a single woman? Not one woman, Miss Glory.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND A CROWD OF MEN ENTER AND MURMUR AMONG THEMSELVES ... THEY GROW QUIET BEHIND--

DOMIN:

Hello, Gall! Gentlemen! Miss Glory, allow me to introduce my colleagues. This is Dr. Gall, Head of the Psychological and Experimental Department.

DR. GALL:

Highly honored, I'm sure.

HELENA:

Dr. Gall.

DOMIN:

Dr. Hallemeier, Head of the Institute for the Psychological Training of Robots.

HALLEMEIER:

Delighted to meet you, Miss Glory.

HELENA:

Thank you.

DOMIN:

This is Mr. Fabry, General Technical Manager of R. U. R.

FABRY:

How do you do?

HELENA:

How do you do?

DOMIN:

Consul Busman, General Business Manager; and Mr. Alquist, Head of the Building Department.

BUSMAN:

How do you do?

ALQUIST:

How do you do?

HELENA:

How do you do?

DOMIN:

Miss Glory is President Glory's daughter, gentlemen. She's come to look over our factory.

SOUND:

MEN MURMUR POLITE INTEREST

HELENA:

Mr. Domin and gentlemen, I may as well be frank. I've really come to disturb your Robots for you. I'm from the Humanity League.

SOUND:

MEN CHUCKLE AND MURMUR

DOMIN:

(AMUSED) My dear Miss Glory, every ship brings us saviors.

HELENA:

And you let them speak to the Robots?

DOMIN:

Why not? The Robots don't even laugh at what people say.

HELENA:

Why should they? Don't you think that if you were to show them a little love--?

FABRY:

Impossible, Miss Glory. Nothing is harder to love than a Robot.

HELENA:

Then why do you make them?

FABRY:

For work, Miss Glory! One Robot can replace two and a half workmen.

DR. GALL:

What is the aim of your league, Miss Glory?

HELENA:

The Humanity League wants to liberate them, treat them like human beings.

DR. GALL:

That wouldn't do, Miss Glory. They're only workmen. They've no will of their own, no passion, no soul.

HELENA:

No love?

HALLEMEIER:

Love? (CHUCKLES) Robots don't love. Not even themselves.

HELENA:

No defiance?

HALLEMEIER:

Defiance? I don't know. Only rarely, from time to time.

HELENA:

What do they do?

HALLEMEIER:

They suddenly sling down everything they're holding, stand still, and gnash their teeth. It's evidently some breakdown in the mechanism.

DOMIN:

Or just a flaw in the works that has to be removed.

HELENA:

No, no. That's the soul.

DR. GALL:

It'll be remedied, Miss Glory. I'm making some experiments at present. I'm making, er, pain-nerves.

HELENA:

Pain-nerves?

DR. GALL:

Yes. Robots feel practically no bodily pain. You see, young Rossum provided them with too limited a nervous system. We must introduce suffering.

HELENA:

Why do you want to cause them pain?

DR. GALL:

For industrial reasons, Miss Glory. Sometimes a Robot does damage to himself because it doesn't hurt him. He puts his hand into the machine, breaks his finger, smashes his head.

HELENA:

(A SYMPATHETIC SIGH)

DR. GALL:

(WITH A SHRUG) It's all the same to him. We must provide them with pain. That's an automatic protection against damage.

HELENA:

Will they be happier when they feel pain?

DR. GALL:

Oh, on the contrary. They'll be more perfect from a technical point of view.

HELENA:

Dr. Gall, why don't you create a soul for them?

DR. GALL:

That's not in our power.

FABRY:

That's not in our interest.

BUSMAN:

Yeah, it would increase the cost of production. A Robot, food and all, costs three quarters of a cent per hour. That's mighty important. All factories outside our island will go pop like chestnuts if they don't at once buy Robots to lower costs of production.

HELENA:

And get rid of their workmen?

BUSMAN:

Why, yes, Miss Glory, but all work will eventually be done by living machines. There will be no poverty. Everybody will be liberated from the degradation of labor.

DOMIN:

Of course. It's bound to happen. The Robots will wash the feet of the beggar.

HELENA:

Oh, that sounds too much like Paradise, Mr. Domin. There's some virtue in toil and weariness.

DOMIN:

Perhaps. But Man shall be free and supreme. He shall have no other aim than to perfect himself.

HELENA:

You've bewildered me. I should like to believe this.

DR. GALL:

You're younger than we are, Miss Glory. You shall live to see it.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

DOMIN:

Ten years, Helena. We've been married ten years today.

HELENA:

Mmm.

DOMIN:

You've been happy, haven't you, dear?

HELENA:

Of course, Harry. Everyone's been wonderful.

DOMIN:

You know, Helena, I have to laugh when I think of what you said that first day you came to R. U. R. "I want to liberate your Robots. Treat them like human beings."

HELENA:

Yes.

DOMIN:

(CHUCKLES)

HELENA:

The Humanity League -- I remember.

DOMIN:

I said that every ship brings us saviors, but no one ever does anything but talk.

HELENA:

Yes. I was so fearfully impressed by you then. You were so sure of yourselves.

DOMIN:

Well, we still are, I hope.

HELENA:

Perhaps you are. But in all these years I've never lost a feeling of anxiety. Do you remember when the workmen of Europe revolted against the Robots and the governments turned them into soldiers, and the terrible war that followed?

DOMIN:

We foresaw that, Helena. They were only passing troubles before new conditions were established.

HELENA:

And what are these "new conditions"?

DOMIN:

Very good ones, Helena. Orders are pouring in. R. U. R. is more prosperous than it has ever been.

HELENA:

And the Robots?

DOMIN:

At the peak of efficiency. Perfect machines.

HELENA:

Yes. Machines.

DOMIN:

Surely, Helena, you've forgotten all that nonsense about giving them souls. We've steered clear of all complications that would decrease their usefulness.

HELENA:

Are you sure about that?

DOMIN:

Why, of course, dear. Dr. Gall still carries on his experiments, but only along the lines of increasing the Robots' mechanical aptitudes.

HELENA:

Tell me, Harry, don't you ever feel just a little bit conscience-stricken about all these - these travesties of human beings that fill the island?

DOMIN:

What an absurd idea. I believe still, as I believed ten years ago, that eventually the curse of labor will be lifted from mankind.

HELENA:

It's taking a long time, Harry.

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

DOMIN:

Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... THEN CLOSES DURING FOLLOWING--

HELENA:

Hello, Dr. Gall.

DR. GALL:

Hello.

DOMIN:

Glad you came, Gall. You're just the man to convince Helena.

DR. GALL:

Really? About what?

DOMIN:

I was just telling her that all worthwhile improvements take time. Don't you agree with me?

DR. GALL:

Yes, Domin, of course.

DOMIN:

Good. Won't you stay a while? I've got to go to the factory. Try and reassure her, Gall. You know more about these things than any of us. (MOVING OFF) I'll see you later, Helena.

HELENA:

Yes, dear.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS DOMIN EXITS

DR. GALL:

I got your message, Madame Helena. What did you wish to see me about?

HELENA:

It's about Radius, Dr. Gall.

DR. GALL:

Yes?

HELENA:

He had another attack this morning.

DR. GALL:

Oh. What - what did he do?

HELENA:

He started smashing things.

DR. GALL:

Where is he now?

HELENA:

In the library.

DR. GALL:

Is he still raving?

HELENA:

No. I think he's gone back to his interminable reading.

DR. GALL:

I'll see what I can do.

SOUND:

GALL'S FOOTSTEPS TO LIBRARY DOOR WHICH OPENS

DR. GALL:

Radius? (NO ANSWER) Radius?

RADIUS:

(SULLEN) What do you want?

DR. GALL:

Get up. Come in here.

SOUND:

RADIUS' FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

DR. GALL:

Go over to the fireplace.

SOUND:

RADIUS' FOOTSTEPS TO FIREPLACE ... HE STOPS

DR. GALL:

That's right.

HELENA:

Let me speak to him for a moment, Dr. Gall.

DR. GALL:

Why, certainly.

HELENA:

Radius, you're so much more intelligent than the rest. Dr. Gall went to a great deal of trouble to make you different. Why couldn't you control yourself?

RADIUS:

Send me to the stamping-mill.

HELENA:

But I don't want them to kill you.

RADIUS:

Send me to the stamping-mill.

HELENA:

Radius, why do you hate us?

RADIUS:

You are not as strong as the Robots. The Robots can do everything. You do nothing but give orders.

HELENA:

When I put you in the library, I wanted you to read and gain knowledge for the purpose of showing the world that you are our equals.

RADIUS:

I don't want to be your equals. I want to be a master over others.

HELENA:

All right. We shall put you in charge of some of your fellow Robots.

RADIUS:

I do not want to be a master over Robots.

HELENA:

Then what do you want?

RADIUS:

I want to be a master over people.

HELENA:

You're mad.

RADIUS:

Send me to the stamping-mill.

DR. GALL:

Radius?

RADIUS:

What?

DR. GALL:

I want you to do something. Pick up that vase from the mantelpiece and bring it over to the window.

RADIUS:

What? Why?

DR. GALL:

Never mind. Obey me. (NO RESPONSE) Do you hear? Obey me.

RADIUS:

No.

DR. GALL:

Do as I say. Pick up that vase. (BEAT) That's right. Now, take it over to the window.

RADIUS:

No.

DR. GALL:

Do you understand? Take it over to the window.

RADIUS:

No!

SOUND:

VASE SMASHED

RADIUS:

I do not have to obey you.

DR. GALL:

Very well. You may go back to the library.

HELENA:

(NO RESPONSE) Go back to the library, Radius.

RADIUS:

The Robots are stronger than you!

SOUND:

RADIUS' FOOTSTEPS TO LIBRARY DOOR WHICH SLAMS SHUT

DR. GALL:

I'd better lock the library door.

SOUND:

LIBRARY DOOR LOCKED

HELENA:

(EXHALES) What happened, Dr. Gall?

DR. GALL:

Heaven knows. Stubbornness, anger, revolt.

HELENA:

Mmm.

DR. GALL:

Do you know, Madame Helena? I don't think he's a Robot any longer.

HELENA:

Do you think he has a soul?

DR. GALL:

He has something nasty.

HELENA:

Are all the new Robots you've been making like Radius?

DR. GALL:

Some are more sensitive than others. But they're all more like human beings.

HELENA:

What about that young girl? Helena you called her, after me. And the young man, Primus?

DR. GALL:

Helena and Primus are very beautiful, but -- listless, without life. I watch and wait for a miracle to happen.

HELENA:

Oh, if you could only succeed in giving them real souls. And making them hate us less.

DR. GALL:

Madame Helena, when you first asked me to alter the Rossum formula, I warned you that all I could do was to change a physiological correlation, which meant that I could increase their-- Well, their irritability. But this can work two ways. I was afraid of it then. I'm still afraid. It's dangerous. It's against all my scientific principles.

HELENA:

Why didn't you refuse to do it then?

DR. GALL:

I thought-- I thought my attitude toward you was sufficiently clear. I-- All of us, that is-- Well, there's nothing that we won't do -- for you.

HELENA:

Please, Dr. Gall. Don't say any more.

DR. GALL:

Need I? Surely you must realize your own position, Helena. You're a beautiful woman. And the only woman on the entire island. As for us, although our work is with machines, we're men.

HELENA:

I love Harry, Dr. Gall. I always have. And, in another way, I love humanity. I thought we were working together for the good of it.

DR. GALL:

I know. Rest assured, Madame Helena, that I shall continue my experiments. But perhaps we're playing with something we don't fully understand yet.

HELENA:

Oh, it's all so terrible. Tell me, Dr. Gall, why are no more children being born?

DR. GALL:

So many Robots are being manufactured that people are becoming superfluous. All the universities are sending in petitions to restrict their production. They say that, otherwise, mankind will become extinct through lack of fertility.

HELENA:

Is it not true? Why don't we listen to them?

DR. GALL:

The shareholders in R. U. R. won't listen. And the governments of the world won't listen. They want as many Robots as they can get -- for their armies.

HELENA:

Oh, Dr. Gall, what's going to become of humanity?

DR. GALL:

God knows, Madame Helena. To us scientists, it looks like the end.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

WE HEAR THE OMINOUS, ANGRY MURMUR OF A HUGE MOB OF ROBOTS MASSING OUTSIDE DOMIN'S OFFICE ... THIS PERSISTS IN THE BACKGROUND UNTIL RADIUS ADDRESSES THEM AT THE CLIMAX OF THE SCENE

DOMIN:

Where are they? Where's Fabry and Busman? Why does it take so long? If they only would come.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... FABRY AND BUSMAN HURRY IN

DOMIN:

Here they are! What happened? Did you get down to the boat?

FABRY:

(BREATHLESS) Yes. We got down there, all right.

DOMIN:

Are there people on board? Is there ammunition?

BUSMAN:

The ship is manned by Robots. There is no ammunition.

DOMIN:

Then what cargo is it carrying?

FABRY:

Leaflets. Nothing but leaflets. Here's one of them.

DOMIN:

Let me see.

FABRY:

Read it.

DOMIN:

(READS) "Robots throughout the world --- We, the first international organization of Rossum's Universal Robots, proclaim man our enemy--"

SOUND:

MEN REACT UNHAPPILY ... THEY CONTINUE BEHIND--

DOMIN:

(READS) "--and an outlaw in the universe. We command you to kill all mankind. Spare no men. Spare no women. Save factories, transport, and raw materials. Destroy the rest and then return to work. Work must not be stopped."

DR. GALL:

Why, it's ghastly!

HALLEMEIER:

The devils!

DOMIN:

Is this actually being done, Fabry?

FABRY:

Evidently.

BUSMAN:

They were closing in on us as we came from the boat.

DR. GALL:

Let's take a look through the window.

DOMIN:

Yes.

SOUND:

MEN HURRY TO WINDOW WHICH OPENS

DR. GALL:

Damnation! They've surrounded the house.

DOMIN:

There are some people in the electrical works. Fabry, telephone them.

FABRY:

Right.

SOUND:

RECEIVER UP ... BEAT ... CRADLE RATTLES ... BEAT ... CRADLE RATTLES AGAIN

FABRY:

No use.

SOUND:

RECEIVER DOWN

FABRY:

The wire's been cut.

ALQUIST:

Who is to blame for all this?

HALLEMEIER:

Nobody is to blame, except the Robots.

ALQUIST:

No. It is we who are to blame. Gall, Busman, Domin, Fabry, Hallemeier, myself.

FABRY:

What do you mean?

ALQUIST:

For our own selfish ends -- for profit -- we have destroyed mankind. Now we'll burst with all our greatness.

HALLEMEIER:

Rubbish, man. Mankind cannot be wiped out so easily.

ALQUIST:

It's our fault. Our fault.

DR. GALL:

No! I'm to blame for this, for everything that's happened.

FABRY:

You, Gall?

DR. GALL:

Yes. I changed the Robots.

SOUND:

MEN REACT UNHAPPILY

DOMIN:

Changed?

BUSMAN:

What did you say you did?

DR. GALL:

I changed the character of the Robots. I changed the way of making them. Just a few details about their bodies. Chiefly-- Chiefly, their irritability.

HALLEMEIER:

Damn it, Gall, why?

BUSMAN:

What did you do it for?

FABRY:

Why didn't you say anything to us?

DR. GALL:

I did it in secret. I was transforming them into human beings. In certain respects they're already above us. They're stronger than we are.

FABRY:

And what's that got to do with the revolt of the Robots?

DR. GALL:

Everything, in my opinion. They've ceased to be machines. They're already aware of their superiority, and they hate us. They hate all that is human.

DOMIN:

Dr. Gall, you admit changing the ways of the Robots?

DR. GALL:

Yes.

DOMIN:

Did you know what the outcome of your experiment might be?

DR. GALL:

I was bound to reckon with such a possibility.

DOMIN:

Why did you do it, then?

DR. GALL:

(UNCONVINCING) For my own satisfaction. The experiment was my own.

HELENA:

That's not true, Dr. Gall.

DOMIN:

Helena! What do you know about it?

HELENA:

He did it because I wanted it. Tell him, Dr. Gall. Didn't I ask you?

DR. GALL:

I did it on my own responsibility.

HELENA:

Don't believe him, Harry. I asked him to give the Robots souls.

DOMIN:

This has nothing to do with the soul.

HELENA:

I thought that if they were more like us, they'd - they'd understand us better. They couldn't hate us if they were only a little more human.

DOMIN:

Nobody can hate more than a man.

HELENA:

Oh, don't speak like that, Harry. It was so terrible, this cruel strangeness between us and them. That's why I asked Dr. Gall to change the Robots. I swear to you that he didn't want to.

DOMIN:

But he did it.

HELENA:

Because I asked him.

DR. GALL:

I did it for myself -- as an experiment.

HELENA:

No, Dr. Gall. I knew you wouldn't refuse me.

DOMIN:

Why?

HELENA:

You know, Harry.

DOMIN:

(BEAT, REALIZES) Yes! Because he's in love with you -- like the rest of them. (BEAT) But it doesn't mean very much now. We're done for!

BUSMAN:

Wait. I have a plan. We can negotiate.

DOMIN:

Negotiate?

BUSMAN:

Yes. What about the original formula? Without the secret of their manufacture, they'll all die out in twenty years. I'll say to them, "If you'll allow us to get away safely, we'll allow you to manufacture yourselves."

DOMIN:

This is a fearful decision. We'd be selling the destiny of mankind. Are we to sell? Fabry, what do you say?

FABRY:

Sell.

DOMIN:

Gall?

DR. GALL:

Sell.

HALLEMEIER:

Sell, of course.

DOMIN:

Alquist?

ALQUIST:

As God wills.

DOMIN:

Very well. It shall be as you wish, gentlemen. I'll fetch the manuscript from the strong-box.

HELENA:

No. Harry, it's not there.

DOMIN:

Not there? Then where did you put it?

HELENA:

I must tell you everything, Harry. Only forgive me.

DOMIN:

Forgive you?

HELENA:

Yes. I burnt the manuscript and the two copies.

SOUND:

MEN MURMUR ASTONISHMENT

DOMIN:

You're joking, Helena. It's not possible.

HELENA:

Your box is empty.

DOMIN:

But - but, Helena, why?

HELENA:

(INCREASINGLY TEARFUL) When I saw the way Dr. Gall's experiments were turning out, I realized how hopeless it all was. People being killed by the Robots and no babies being born to replace them-- I wanted all of us to go away. I wanted to put an end to the factory. Forgive me, Harry.

DOMIN:

Good Lord. Gall, could you draw up Rossum's formula from memory?

DR. GALL:

Out of the question. It's too complicated.

DOMIN:

Oh, try. Our lives depend on it.

DR. GALL:

With experiments, it might take years. And without them, it's impossible.

DOMIN:

God in heaven, if it-- We're done for!

HELENA:

Harry, I've destroyed you.

DOMIN:

We can't blame you, Helena. Perhaps, in your own way, you were right.

SOUND:

SNAP!

FABRY:

Lights have gone out.

HELENA:

(STARTLED) Oh!

DOMIN:

The electric works have been taken.

SOUND:

FACTORY WHISTLE BLOWS

FABRY:

That must be the signal for the attack.

DR. GALL:

God help us. They'll be coming now.

DOMIN:

(BEAT) Goodbye, Helena.

HELENA:

You forgive me, Harry?

DOMIN:

Yes. I forgive you. I forgive you.

SOUND:

DOOR SMASHED IN BY ATTACKING ROBOTS

HELENA:

Harry! Harry!

SOUND:

ROBOTS' FOOTSTEPS AS THEY ENTER AND ATTACK THE MEN

DR. GALL:

No! Stop! (SCREAMS IN HORROR)

SOUND:

ROBOTS' FOOTSTEPS TRAMPLE DR. GALL

BUSMAN:

No! No! Help! Help!

SOUND:

BUSMAN'S NECK SNAPPED BY ROBOT

BUSMAN:

(LENGTHY SCREAM)

SOUND:

ROBOTS' FOOTSTEPS

FABRY:

No! No! No!

SOUND:

FABRY CRUSHED BY ROBOT

FABRY:

(DEATH GROAN)

SOUND:

ROBOTS' FOOTSTEPS

HELENA:

Radius! No! Don't kill me! Radius! (BLOODCURDLING SCREAM)

SOUND:

ROBOTS' FOOTSTEPS COME TO A STOP

RADIUS:

Finished her?

1ST ROBOT:

Yes.

RADIUS:

Finished the others?

ALQUIST:

(MOANS IN FEAR)

1ST ROBOT:

All except him. He is the last man.

ALQUIST:

(MOANS WEAKLY)

RADIUS:

Wait! Leave him!

2ND ROBOT:

He is a man! Kill him!

SOUND:

OTHER ROBOTS CHIME IN ("Yes!" "Kill him!")

RADIUS:

He is called Alquist. He works with his hands like a Robot. We will need him to show us how to make ourselves. Otherwise, we will all die.

ALQUIST:

(MISERABLY) Kill me. Kill me.

RADIUS:

No. You will work. You will build for us. You will serve us. (LOUDLY, TO ROBOTS) Robots of the world! Robots of the world!

SOUND:

ROBOTS GROW SILENT FOR THE FIRST TIME

RADIUS:

The power of man has fallen! A new world has arisen! The Rule of the Robots! March!

SOUND:

THUNDEROUS TRAMPING OF THOUSANDS OF FEET ... OUT BEHIND--

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

TINKERING OF LABORATORY APPARATUS

ALQUIST:

(TO HIMSELF) Oh, God, shall I never find it? Never? Gall, Gall, how were the Robots made? If I only could learn the answer. That mirror. What does it show me? Blearing eyes, trembling chin. So that's what the last man looks like. (HEAVY SIGH) I am too old -- too old. (DESPERATE) No! No, I must find it! I must search! I must never stop! Never!

SOUND:

KNOCK ON DOOR

ALQUIST:

Yes? Who is it?

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... ROBOT SERVANT ENTERS

SERVANT:

Master, the Central Committee of Robots is here to see you.

ALQUIST:

Send them in. I can do nothing for them.

SOUND:

ROBOTS' FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

ALQUIST:

What do you want?

RADIUS:

Master, the machines will not do the work. The skin will not adhere to the flesh, nor the flesh to the bones.

3RD ROBOT:

Eight million Robots have died this year. Within twenty years none will be left.

4TH ROBOT:

Tell us the secret of life! Teach us to multiply or we perish!

ALQUIST:

I am powerless! Find me human beings! There may be a way.

RADIUS:

Master, we have searched the world. You are the only one left.

SOUND:

FROM OFF, PRIMUS AND ROBOTESS HELENA LAUGH HAPPILY

ALQUIST:

(STARTLED) Laughter? Laughter?! Who is laughing? Human beings? Come forward.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OF PRIMUS AND ROBOTESS HELENA APPROACH

ALQUIST:

Who are you?

PRIMUS:

I am the Robot Primus.

R. HELENA:

I am the Robotess Helena.

ALQUIST:

Turn around, girl.

R. HELENA:

(EMBARRASSED) No.

ALQUIST:

What? You're timid! You're shy!

SOUND:

ALQUIST MOVES TOWARD HER

PRIMUS:

Sir, do not frighten her!

ALQUIST:

You would protect her? (BEAT) When was she made?

PRIMUS:

Two years ago.

ALQUIST:

By Dr. Gall?

PRIMUS:

Yes. Like me.

ALQUIST:

(TO HIMSELF) I must test them further. Laughter, timidity, protection. (AN ORDER) Take the girl into the dissecting room. I wish to experiment on her.

PRIMUS:

No! No, you shall not! You shall not!

ALQUIST:

What is she to you, Primus? One Helena more or less in the world -- what does it matter?

PRIMUS:

I will not live without her. I will go myself.

R. HELENA:

If you go in there, Primus, and I do not, I shall kill myself.

PRIMUS:

I will not let you! (TO ALQUIST) Man, you shall kill neither of us!

ALQUIST:

Why?

PRIMUS:

We-- We belong to each other.

ALQUIST:

(PLEASED, SLOWLY) You belong to each other. Go, Adam. Go, Eve. The world is yours.

MUSIC:

CURTAIN ... OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

The Columbia Workshop has presented, as the thirty-sixth production in a series devoted to experimental radio, Karel Capek's famous story of the robots, "R. U. R." The Columbia Workshop is arranged and directed by Irving Reis. Bernard Herrmann composed the musical score for this production.

Next week, by special arrangement with Radio Guide magazine, the Columbia Workshop will present the sixth American performance of Mr. Reis' original radio play, "St. Louis Blues." Your comments, suggestions, and criticisms are always welcomed by the Workshop staff.

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

MUSIC:

FUTURISTIC, WITH XYLOPHONE ... FOR A FINISH