A list of questions we're often asked
(And a few we wish were asked more often.)
- Do you charge for this show?
Sadly, yes. As ridiculous as it seems, this is one of the ways I feed
my family. Contact me for details.
- Do you need anything besides money?
- The technical
requirements are here. I'm pretty flexible,
and have performed in many different venues. The show is basically a
play, and the closer the venue is to a theatre the better the show
will be. (i.e. a theatre is better than a lecture hall, which is
better than a function room which is better than a classroom) And good
conversation after is always a plus.
- How long does it take to set up?
About two hours. But please please please don't
schedule the setup in the two hours immediately before the show. A
mismatch with your audio equipment or a malfunction of my equipment
during a setup early in the day is an inconvenience; immediately
before the show, it is a disaster. Unless we're talking about a
theatre with audio and lighting professionals on its staff, leaving
only just enough time for setup is a recipe for a debacle, not least
because people will begin to arrive a half hour before showtime. See
the technical requirements, here.
- How long is the show?
Judy lasts a bit more than an hour. I am writing a new version that
will be about 75 minutes, due out real soon now.
- I still don't get it. What is the show like?
The show presents a conversation between Judy the robot and her
creator/programmer/teacher/svengali. In the course of an hour, they
play chess, talk about life, sing folk songs, show slides from home,
test the audience's suspension of disbelief, and participate in
advanced demonstrations of the fungibility of personality.
Advertising copy is not my forte, so there's little I can do to make
it sound spicier, but I can quote some reviewers:
"Judy is as much fun as a barrel of wind-up cymbal-monkeys, and
lots more entertaining."
-Bill Rodriguez, Providence Phoenix
"...an engrossing evening...
Real questions about consciousness, freedom to act, the
relationship between the creator and the created are woven into a
"Sgouros is an exceptional storyteller with a wholesome wit
that begs his audience to allow their minds to laugh along with their
hearts. Watching the show, it becomes difficult to wipe a smile off
your lips... Yes, it is a family show. Yes, bring your children. But
don't let not having offspring prevent you from delighting in
Sgouros's inventiveness. It truly is a performance for one and all to
enjoy and one to be remembered as a unique experience."
-Geri Sereno, Westerly Sun
Here are more
reviews from places who have hosted us. Here are some
reviews in the press from our run in November 2003, at Providence's
- Do you have any publicity help to offer?
Some. See the publicity
page. If there's the possibility of press, or reviews, I have more.
- What's Judy's favorite song?
"John Henry's Hammer" But she doesn't really understand it,
- Who built Judy?
I designed and built Judy myself, from the firmware on her little circuit
boards (and the circuit boards, too), right on up to the curve of her
- What else have you built?
Not much. Judy was the first such project I undertook. I'm not
really a tinkerer, but I wrote a show that needed a robot, and you
can't buy them, really. Since then, though, I built a laser harp for
a friend of mine, and some electronics to make a restaurant bar interact
with you when you sit down at it.
- What language do you use?
- I speak English, mostly. But
you were probably asking about Judy's internals. The motor control
firmware is programmed in Microchip PIC machine code. I use the Microchip
assembly language, mostly. The more sophisticated parts are programmed using
wonderfully useful and well documented implementation of (almost) R5RS Scheme
that's part of a larger assortment of computer science education stuff
from Rice University.
- What's your background?
- There is nothing about my
background that explains Judy. I studied physics and political
science once upon a time, and film, too. These taught me how to
calculate the torque on a motor, how to tell a story, and how to
understand the tragedy of modern politics, but Judy is on different
topics. I read a lot, though, and write. See my theatrical bio
- Does that bit at the end of the show hurt?
No humans or robots are harmed in the production of this piece of
theatre. Remember, theatre is just a polite word for fraud and deceit.