HumanMachine was born from the revolutionary idea that humans should be able to improvise with anyone, or anything, which includes a machine running artificial intelligence. Over a year of research and development in the laboratory, and a dozen of experimental concept shows in London, Barcelona and Edmonton have led to binary2.
Update: video of the full show (1 April 2017) available here:
binary2 will take place on 31 March (9:30pm, London, England and 11:30am, Portland, Oregon) and on 1 April (6:00pm, London, England and 10:00am, Portland, Oregon). It will take place simultaneously at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London, England and at the Curious Comedy Theater in Portland, Oregon.
You can purchase tickets for the UK side of binary2 on the website of UK ImproFest 2017. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Girls Who Code and to Mousetrap Theatre Projects.
binary2 is a transatlantic improvisation show between two humans and two robots running artificial intelligence. Literally: one human and one physical robot, in London, communicating via video link with another human and a virtual avatar in Portland, Oregon. The two humans, Kory and Piotr, have joined forces in an improvisational duo that incorporates their love of bleeding-edge technology with the purity and beauty of improvised theatre.
The state-of-the-art artificial intelligences behind the robots have been coded by the human creators of the show and have learned to communicate and to act by reading one hundred thousand movie scripts, using a machine learning technique called neural networks. The robots can listen using speech recognition, converse using an AI dialogue system, speak using voice synthesis and finally move as they act. Just like human improvisers!
This show is a world première and the live transatlantic link will be a major challenge. An alternative title could have been “Technical Disaster”, but the two human improvisers will pull this off.
What is creativity? Could a robot have a sense of humour? Could it make you cry or jump from joy? Blurring the boundaries between humans and machines, binary2 will stimulate you emotionally and intellectually.
A.L.Ex – Robot running Artificial Intelligence (London, England)
Pyggy – Virtual avatar powered by Artificial Intelligence (Portland, Oregon)
Albert – Human, played by Piotr Mirowski (London, England)
Myles – Human, played by Kory Mathewson (Portland, Oregon)
Stephen Davidson is operating mission control in London, England
Chase Padgett is operating mission control in Portland, Oregon
“Meet the smart robots with artificial irreverence. Stage debut beckons for machines programmed to learn the nuances of improvised comedy…” – The Times (PDF version).
Albert and A.L.Ex have been selected as “Comedians to Watch in 2017” – The Phoenix Remix.
“… an immensely enjoyable trip to the future […] with Dr Piotr Mirowski doing live improv comedy with his AI system A.L.Ex. (with hilariously ominous consequences!)…” – Jugular.
Kory Mathewson has been selected to the “Top 40 Under 40” for 2016 by Avenue Edmonton: “… shared his extensive knowledge of improvisation and artificial intelligence not just in his own community, but on a global scale”.
Kory was selected as Best in the Fest at the 2015 Vancouver International Improv Festival for TEDxRFT, which also won the Insane Concept of the Year award from 12th night.
“…the implausible comic energy that Kory Mathewson and Donovan Workun bring to their Back To The Future double-act whenever they hit the stage.” – Edie Ranvier, Improvathon 2016: The Lost Theatre, London
The AI robots have been built by Kory Mathewson and Piotr Mirowski, two computer scientists and hackers who have nearly 30 years of combined improvisational experience performing and teaching at festivals around the world.
Piotr, a drama student at LSDA, started improv in France, and continued in New York (as a member of Cherub Improv comedy non-profit, with a hundred shows in hospitals, nursing homes and homeless shelters) and now London (formerly with Improvable). Kory is a 2013 Canadian Comedy Award winner, and 5 time nominee for his work with Rapid Fire Theatre and Die Nasty: live improvised soap-opera.
Building up for the show: Long-Distance Relationship
Long Distance Relationship (LDR) is a two-person improv format performed by Kory Mathewsonand Piotr Mirowski. Piotr and Kory and engaged in a long-distance relationship, which they try to make work through telecommunication technology. The show is produced by HumanMachine and explores the limits of improv when the performers are separated by seven time zones and seven seas.
Long Distance Relationship takes place online, where either performer (or both) may be in front of an audience. LDR starts with an email sent from the remote performer. The email is read live, in front of the audience, and initiates the scene.
What is gained and lost when performers are separated by a distance surmountable only through the advents of modern technology? What impacts does the technological separation have on audiences on both ends? What relationships can be explored online-first? These questions serve as the fuel for Long Distance Relationship.
Past performances of LDR include:
- 21 June 2017, 20:00 BST at the Library (London, England) and 12:00 MST in Cupertino (California), as part of LadyG and Friends’ show and jam.
- 20 March 2017, 20:00 BST at the Effra Social (London, England) and 13:00 MST in Edmonton (Alberta), during DuckDuckGoose‘s show and jam.
- 15 March 2017, 21:30 BSTat the Library (London, England) and 14:30 MST in Edmonton (Alberta), as part of LadyG and Friends’ show and jam.
- 14 February 2017, 20:00 BST at the Freedom Bar in Soho (London, England) and 13:00 MST in Edmonton (Alberta), as part of Love Sucks.
- 8 February 2017, 21:00 MST at the Dirt Buffet Cabaret (Edmonton, Alberta) – 9 February 2017, 4:00 BST in London (England). This second show took place at Edmonton’s experimental variety show and performance lab. Kory performed first with a hybrid version of A.L.Ex and Pyggy, then called Piotr, who had sent him and email.
- 4 February 2017, 23:00 BST at The Miller Pub (London, England) – 4 February 2017, 16:00 MST at Lake Louise (Alberta). This inaugural show took place at the “Night Tube” late-night impro show organised by Hoopla and Steve Roe. Kory sent the email to Piotr, who called Kory from the stage.