Can looking at humanity through a robot’s eyes show us something that we ourselves can’t see? Playwright Jake Brasch thinks so. That question is the basis for his new play, “Salutations, I’m Creative Dave by Creative Dave.”
“I want to make strange work for our strange times,” Brasch, 27, said. “The entire play is from the perspective of Creative Dave, a housekeeping robot in an imagined time in the future in which every household is equipped with their own robot.”
Altered by his owner to become a “creative,” Dave can paint, sing, dance and write. With "Salutations," Brasch wanted to explore how the exercise of writing a play actually makes Dave less creative, and how his increased humanity ultimately gives him more problems.
“Being free from preconceived notions that come from relationships and history enables Dave a unique outlook,” Brasch said. “For him, the play is laying out an argument for why creativity is a blessing but also very much so a curse.”
Brasch cites the InspiroBot, an online inspirational quote generator, and Yuval Noah Harari’s 2017 book “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” as inspirations for this project, which marks his first full-length production in New York. The playwright describes himself on his website as queer, sober, Jewish and Coloradan, noting that those descriptors are in no particular order but all add up to his singular voice.
“This is an American family drama from the vantage point of the robot, but I want the audience coming in to expect a screwball comedy," he said.
"[T]his is a way for people to watch and engage with difficult things and the absurdity of it all,” he added.
The play, running at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory in the West Village this week, is a project of the Clambake, Brasch’s producing collective that began by writing singing telegrams to make money and includes mostly NYU Tisch School of the Arts alumni.
IF YOU GO
“Salutations, I’m Creative Dave by Creative Dave” runs at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory from May 13-17 at 8 p.m. | 104 W. 14th St. | tickets $15-$25 at eventbrite.com