Pretentious Pictures Presents:

A Romance with a Robot

A woman, her robot (a perfect man), and her lover (an imperfect man).
When workaholic Professor Jane Ramsay agrees to "try out" a state-of-the-art robot for the NASA-financed physics department, she's expecting a mechanical device to help with the house work—a sort of combination vacuum-cleaner / drinks trolley.  That's how they described him!
Instead she gets the tender, suave and brilliant Steel Man, not to say model-handsome.  The slight hesitations in his movements may just be perfect poise.  "I do rugs," he assures her.
This is a total embarrassment.  How does she explain him to the neighbors?  How does she explain him to her colleagues?  What will they think she's—  What will they think he's—  What does she do when he's off-duty, stand him in the closet?  
But his creator Doctor Avery persuades her that Steel Man will pass as human.  So she accepts the rather sinister presence of this thing—it cooks, does the dishes—but she keeps him out of the neighbors' sight and won't let him answer the phone.  Then one night she has a drink too many, asks him to wash her hair and—well.
Deeply humiliated, she must now keep her colleagues from guessing the truth—but he charms them!  He charms the president.  He charms her estranged kids.  He even charms Charles, the imperfect man who loves her.
When Charles is ejected from his lecture hall by his own students, the Dean asks Steel Man to give the last class of the term, so Steel Man gives the kids a talk on "What It Is to Be Human."

But Jane's nightmares about discovery and disgrace poison her life with him.  Steel Man, who till now has "felt" human, discovers that he is not alone with his thoughts, that Doctor Avery and his team are looking in, not only on him, but on what he does with Jane—

—and Steel Man confronts his creator, who is mad, and thinks he's God.  But OK, he'll give Steel Man his independence, for as long as it lasts.  And Jane realizes too late what she wants.

Originally Steel Man was a story in Descant. The stage version had a public reading at the Lincoln Square Studio Theatre in New York, then a full production at John Houseman’s Studio Theatre in New York, directed by Vicky Weidman:

Steel Man – Darryl Kurtin
Jane – Joannie Kaplan
Charles – Barry Pomerantz

Most recently it was at FirstStage in Hollywood.  The director said, "The play was sensational. Everyone was eerily touched, much to my surprise. They took it as a romantic drama.  I thought it was a comedy.  But, of course, I immediately acknowledged the fact that I knew it was a touching drama of a human loving a machine.  And people thought that Charles was slightly in love with both of them.  Hey, I will never deny success.  I did direct it and had a terrific cast.  Talk to you as soon as I can open my eyes.  Best, Dennis."

(Dennis Safren is the manager and dramaturge at FirstStage, whose Board has included Ed Asner, Julie Harris, Syd Field, Paul Newman and Lily Tomlin.) 

Pretentious Pictures presents 
a romance with a robot.

Robert MacLean is an independent filmmaker. His recent The Light Touch is on Amazon PrimeTubi and Scanbox, and his 7-minute comedy is an out-loud laugh. He is also a novelist, a playwright, a blogger, a YouTuber, a film reviewer, a literary critic, and a stand-up comic poet. Born Toronto, PhD McGill, taught at Canadian universities, too cold, live Greece, Irish citizen. No brains, but an intellectual snob.

I was beastly but never coarse. A high-class sort of heel.

The Light Touch on Amazon Prime

The Natural Wish to Be Robert MacLean

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