Reviews from different places we've been

Click here for press reviews from our recent run at Perishable Theatre in Providence
Bloomfield Museum of Science, Jerusalem, Israel
"A wonderful and thought-provoking performance written with delicacy and performed at the highest level of accuracy and coordination. For long moments, I really believed that Judy could think and speak. All my fears of seeing a too-technical and intellectual show dissolved as the personality of this smart machine and its creator and their complex relationship unravelled and intrigued. It is a show that is so much about what it's like to be a human!!"-- Maya Halevy, Director
Madatech - National Museum of Science, Haifa, Israel
"We found your show entertaining, intriguing and very minds-on!
Your presentation was well suited to our audience of thinkers and tinkerers, and we loved your excellent humor and human approach!" -- Ronen Mir, Deputy Director
International Lisp Conference, Cambridge, MA
"Tom performed 'Judy' at the banquet of the International Lisp Conference 2009. It was a big hit! The audience included both people with Artificial Intelligence experience, and people with no computer science background at all, and they all enjoyed the show. Combining serious, thoughtful material with humor successfully is rarely done well; Tom does it perfectly! He's a a great performer!" -- Dan Weinreb, conference chair, co-founder of Symbolics
ITA Software, Cambridge, MA
"Tom Sgouros's one-man/one-robot show represents the best of 'geek theatre.' With smarts and charm he crafts a world where artificial intelligence questions its own existence as well as the merits of doing dishes. Anyone who like technology and appreciates the benefits it brings to mankind will love Judy the Robot." -- Cara Kretz, VP Marketing
University of Edinburgh, Scotland
"My family (two five year olds, geek averse wife, and geeky I) all enjoyed Tom Sgouros's show, Judy -or- What is it like to be a robot? Old chestnuts about philosophy, strong AI, and the soul turned fresh and funny. The most enjoyable evening I've spent in the theatre in years (and Edinburgh has plenty of theatre)." -- Philip Wadler, Informatics Department (link)
Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
Hi Tom
I'm really sorry I missed you on Friday, as I didn't get a chance with the crowds round you on Thursday night !!! Your show was just brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have had excellent feedback from people that went. The weather has been pretty dismal since you left but its nice that you went away thinking that Aberdeen was a hot and sunny place and Judy didn't need her cosy boots.
Best wishes and good luck for the future
Barbara Jones, RGU
ps say hi to Judy for me
UC Berkeley
"Tom Sgouros's performance is one-of-a-kind! It's amazingly witty and charming, and the technology is innovative enough that it intrigues simply because it was a solo creation and not the product of a team of engineers. What really brings the show to the next level, however, is the focus on the characters and issues at hand, rather than solely on the technology that makes them possible. I highly recommend Tom Sgouros's show to anyone in the least bit curious about the mind, artificial intelligence, or good theater in general!" -- Michael W. Cole and the Berkeley Cognitive Science Student Association
U Pittsburgh
"The performance piece by Tom Sgouros made an excellent opening event for our recent International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. The show presents central philosophical issues from cognitive science in a delightful format, rendering deep and complex concepts like free will accessible to the layman. The entire audience, ranging from children to professors, were captivated by the interaction of Tom and Judy." -- Paul Munro, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
California Polytechnical, San Luis Obispo, CA
"Our audience here at Cal Poly was captivated by Judy the Robot. The performance itself was intelligent and funny. And the philosophical issues surrounding consciousness and personhood were raised in insightful and intriguing ways--the unexpected twists were great fun!"-- Linda Bomstad, chair, Philosophy Department.
Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
"We had Tom entertain at our conference (an eclectic combination of biologists and roboticists). He and Judy raised many of the philosophical questions that lurk in the back of a roboticist's mind. In fact, he added a few more to the back of my mind. But they did it in a very approachable way. Our group was thoroughly entertained!"-- Tucker Balch, College of Computing
Duke University, Durham, NC
I wanted to write you a brief note telling you just how much we enjoyed your performance. What a terrific show! I hope that you enjoyed yourself as well--so much so that were we to invite you again next year (which seems likely), you would accept the invitation*.
Guven Guzeldere, Department of Philosophy

*Ed note: they did.
Indiana University, Collins Center
"[Tom's] on-stage conversations with such technological marvels as the tape recorder and Judy the robot play out -- and bring to unexpected conclusions -- the secret love/hate relationships we all have with infernal machines that make so much possible, but that so often turn on us when we need them most... I have found his monologues not only highly entertaining, but intellectually absorbing and simply unique in my experience of theatre...We have had many guest artists and speakers come through Collins in my years here, and Tom has been among the most delightful to work with and the most generous with his time." -- Catherine Hawkes, Special Programs Coordinator.
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
Dear Tom,
Thanks again for bringing your wonderful show, Judy, or What is it Like to be a Robot?, to the University of Waterloo. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, from philosophy professors to computer science students to my 11-year old son. We found your show to be thoughtful, witty, and highly entertaining. I hope many other people will have the opportunity to see you perform.
Sincerely, Paul Thagard, Professor of Philosophy, Director, Cognitive Science Program
UC Santa Barbara
"Tom Sgouros and his robot friend Judy perform a rare feat... they provoke thought, instill curiosity, and even generate sympathetic considerations for the possible plight of a future race of electronic slaves. But first and foremost, they entertain... Go see it, and bring your kids and your parents."-- Daniel Montello, Chair of the Cognitive Science Program at UCSB
Pomona College, Claremont, CA
"This show is a rare treat indeed. Judy the robot, and her human sidekick Tom, bring the big questions about mind, consciousness, and free will to life in a wonderfully tangible and entertaining way. Watching them interact, and listening to their witty, mind-stretching dialogue is more effective than a dozen philosophical debates. Judy is an intellectual gem, and loads of fun to boot!"--Jim Marshall, Computer Science Program, Pomona College
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
"Tom Sgouros's show, Judy, or What is it Like to be a Robot? is both funny and deep. It's got something for everyone---philosophers, robotics researchers, and people who enjoy laughs with a few surprises thrown in. Judy isn't the usual sci-fi robot on a rampage, but she does challenge our ideas about what it might be like to be a machine. Run, don't walk, to go see a performance near you!"-- Nils Nilsson, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, author of Artificial Intelligence: A New Synthesis, etc, etc.
California State University Hayward, Hayward, CA
"The most entertaining colloquium of the year! Tom Sgouros's intelligence is anything but artificial in this quick-witted conversation between a man and his robot. Like all great dialogues from Plato onwards, the audience is left with much delicious food for thought. Bravo!"--Tom Roby, Computer Science Program, Cal State Hayward.
Cal Tech, Pasadena, CA
"Tom (the somewhat uptight and nerdy human) and Judy (the very tricky and clever robot) are a pair whose dialogue is not to be missed. Who is the robot here? The show is entertaining and thought-provoking"- - Maja Mataric, USC Robotics Lab
University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI
"Tom's show was both entertaining and provocative. It raised philosophical questions about humanity and our relationship with technology, and it also raised ethical questions about how we human beings should treat one another...Tom has a gift for presenting these complex issues in an accessible way...Do not hesitate to call upon the talents of Tom Sgouros, you will not be disappointed!"-- David E. Nantais, S.J., Campus Minister, College of Engineering.
Penn State University, State College, PA
"It is hard to describe, it's a play, it's an essay, it's a quite interesting thought piece... If you get a chance to see it, you are likely to like it... We will be considering having [Judy and Tom] back to a larger auditorium." -- Frank Ritter, School of Information Science and Technology.
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
"Tom Sgouros brings together intellectual exploration and entertainment into a happy union... The unassuming Sgouros captures the imagination of his audience, regardless of age... The skill with which Tom Sgouros uses his robot, his audience, and any eventuality makes for a stimulating performance which is likely to linger with any audience long after the curtain falls." -- Gersham Nelson, Professor and Head, Department of History and Philosophy
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
"I can't imagine a better introduction to some of the most thought-provoking questions in cognitive science and artificial intelligence. Wonderfully entertaining!" -- Randall Beer, Computer Science Department.
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
"What makes this play so unique is its ability to really work at so many levels at once. It is pure entertainment - a witty and engaging dialogue between a human (Tom) and his robot (Judy) with lots of laughs and several surprises for the audience. But Tom (and Judy) accomplish so much more along the way - they force the viewer to confront some of the classic problems regarding the relationship between mind and body that have continued to puzzle philosophers of mind... We all highly recommend Tom (and Judy)" -- Thomas Palmeri, Woo-kyoung Ahn, and other members of the psychology department
Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI
"Your show, aside from being very enjoyable and entertaining, was thought-provoking and stimulated very interesting discussions on art, life, and self-awareness. It isn't often that such deep ideas come in such an accessible and fun package... it was wonderful to work with you and your charming friend Judy." -- Dorisa Boggs, Theatre Program.
Albion College, Albion, MI
"Many people said your presentation was the best thing brought in this year... I especially enjoyed your informal presentation and give-and-take with my students in the computer understanding of human language class. The students seemed very much to enjoy speaking with someone who thinks about the meaning of intelligence and can bring it to a wide audience. It was the most animated I had seen them in lecture." -- Martha O'Kennon, Math and Computer Science Department.
Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
"This show addresses issues including self-determination, free will, recursion, and many others, in a light-hearted way that makes the audience think hard for a few hours after the show. This is an extremely good thing... In short, we were very glad to have invited him here, and I would highly encourage another school to invite him as well. The show is very, very good." -- Randy Pausch, co-Director of the Entertainment Technology Center.
North Kingstown Free Library, North Kingstown, RI
"What a treat it was to have you and Judy at the library last night! The performance was truly magical -- not in the sleight of hand sense, but in the sense that opens up real questions and gives us a glimpse of truth...Bravo!" -- Susan Berman, Assistant Director
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
"I would definitely recommend seeing a performance by Tom and his metallic friend Judy, for a quick and very entertaining introduction to some serious philosophical issues that loom in the age of smart robots." -- Todd Davies, Symbolic Systems Program Director
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
"Tom's show was a wonderful success.... The show was intellectually engaging and very funny...I wish that I could find other such shows." -- Dennis R. Proffitt, Psychology Department
Penn State University, State College, PA
" It is a very impressive accomplishment to put together a show that both holds a four-year-old's attention and stimulates an old professor's thinking! Judy herself is great, and I found myself drawn in despite knowing something about the stagecraft that makes her work... if anyone is wondering whether the show is worthwhile, I'll be happy to tell them that it is, and then some! -- Rich Carlson, Psychology Department, author of "Experienced Cognition"
Bradford County (PA) Regional Arts Council
"The show was really great. I'd never seen anything quite like that before. It was really original. Tom's a really talented actor and it's impressive how realistically he and the robot seem to converse with each other." -- A member of the local high school robotics team. [Ed. note: "Seem?" Judy replies: "Hmph."]
Tufts University, Medford, MA
"...An imagination-stretcher that delights while it exercises your mind...Judy is an irresistible presence, much better company than many flesh-and-blood actors and actresses. Sgouros' exploration of the deep and quirky philosophical questions of consciousness is subtle and deft, right on target." -- Daniel Dennett
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
"`Judy' deals with issues concerning the foundations of Cognitive Science: What is consciosness? What is memory? What is self? I enjoyed the presentation immensely, and heard from others who attended (ranging from Cognitive Science undergraduates to faculty to the general public) that they felt likewise... I could not recommend him strongly enough to anyone considering having him visit." -- Richard M. Shiffrin, Director Cognitive Science Program.
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
"I was impressed with how Sgouros managed to address important open questions in the field, such as what does it mean to be conscious and how might a pre-programmed entity become conscious, while creating a thoroughly entertaining performance for all ages." -- Lisa Meeden, Computer Science Department.
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
"You and Judy portrayed extremely difficult and sometimes arcane problems with a degree of charm, humor and clarity that reached us all. Your intellect, your artistry and your profoundly deep understanding of the many issues involved in human-machine interactions made it a superb experience. I especially enjoyed our informal discussions." -- Cheryl Logan, Psychology Department
Indiana University (again)
"This is the remarkable achievement of Tom Sgouros. In one and the same show, not only can he amuse and provoke the most general audience, but he can also profoundly engage the minds of the most serious professionals in the fields of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and robotics, and make them think new thoughts about issues with which they have grappled for decades." -- Doug Hofstadter
Montclair (NJ) High School
"The students in our Robotics program who have to create a robot from scraps and trial and error could really relate to your experiences in creating Judy. It was an interesting experience for them to begin to think about the broader implications of this act of creation. Anything that can help them to think on mnay different levels and still be humorous and entertaining is a definite plus with high school students." -- Ed Lebida, Assistant Principal.
North Bay Bohemian, Santa Rosa, CA
"...an oddly adorable appendage composed of old computers, a couple of bicycles, a copy machine, and, for good measure, a kitchen sink. Judy has no arms, but she does have a jaw, which she is inclined to use without reservation, questioning Sgouros' seemingly logical statements... Sgouros, through Judy, makes philosophy accessible with a very dry wit. Seemingly endless philosophical loopholes dealing with consciousness are much easier pills to swallow once a roughly hewn robot who belts out renditions of "John Henry" transforms them to fruity Flintstones chewable vitamins." -- Sara Bir, read the rest here.
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