On Spillikin – A Love Story: Issues around the Humanoid Robot as a Social Actor on Stage

Eugenia Stamboliev


The inclusion of media technology in theatrical plays (Saltz, 2013) follows a contingent fascination and entanglement between human actors, technology and automata (Reilly, 2011) on stage. The contemporary play Spillikin – A Love Story places a new digital ‘actor’ in this debate: the humanoid robot as a socially interactive agent (Breazeal, 2002; Fong, Nourbakhsh, & Dautenhahn, 2003) and caring companion. This paper discusses the exhibition of sociability through the robot’s humanlike gestures and its ability to decipher human gestures on stage. The aim is to point to the ethical consequences for the audience concerning the robot’s implied autonomy to interact socially.


digital media; ethics in science and technologygestures; humanoid and social robots; performance studies; social interaction; tracking technology

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