binary2

binary2_photo1HumanMachine 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.

The show:

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.

Cast:

binary2_robots

Image credits: Curtis Comeau Photography and Avenue Edmonton, Robert Stafford.

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

Reviews:

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 Group:

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.