|Prostitute, 1917, Josef Capek,|
|Karel (left), and Josef Capek|
|The more famous of the Capek brothers.|
The brothers explain that the idea for a play came to author, Karel Capek, in a single, unguarded moment. And, while it was still warm, he rushed immediately to his painting brother, Josef, who was standing before an easel working on a canvas. "Listen, Josef," the author began, "I think I have an idea for a play."
"What kind?" the painter mumbled holding a brush in his mouth. The author told him as briefly as he could. "Then write it," Josef replied, without taking the brush from his mouth or halting work on the painting.
"But," the author said, "I don't know what to call these artificial workers. I could call them "Labori," but that strikes me as a bit bookish."
"Then call them robots," the painter muttered, despite the brush still in mouth, then went on painting. (The Czech noun "robota" means "labor".)
One can almost imagine the younger brother's shrugging acceptance, "Sounds good to me." In any case, that seems to be how the word "robot" was born.
|Josef Capek--playwright, graphic artist, illustrator, set designer, novelist, writer of children’s books and non-fiction tomes, |
journalist, and art critic.
|The Insect Play costumes by Chelsea Kerl|
|One of Capek's last paintings (1939)--a dire vision of things to come.|