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PW production explores Romney as robot

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's background has been scrutinized, investigated and discussed on morning talk shows, in newspapers and at campaign events almost ceaselessly since he won the nomination. But "Romney is a Robot," a musical performed at the Production Workshop Upspace last night, tells a story about Romney that you have not read in a newspaper or seen on CNN.

"Romney is a Robot" explored Democrats' common critique that the candidate is stiff, insincere and apathetic. The show takes the frequent joke about Romney acting like a robot seriously and proceeds to explain how he became that way and how it has affected him through a series of musical numbers. 

This is the second musical Race Archibold '15 has written and directed, the first being a parody of "Jersey Shore" performed last year at Brown. Musicals allow for absurdity more than plays and other performance styles do, Archibold said.

"Today, in 2012, a musical is not a common genre, and it is inherently silly," he said. "It seems good to have a ridiculous genre for a ridiculous story."

And ridiculous the story was. After a brief introduction by Archibold, who also played piano for the show and provided narration, actors playing Romney's parents appeared on stage, singing about their inability to conceive. The parents finally reached a solution - they had Mark Zuckerberg, who had invented a time machine, build them a robot son.

The son Zuckerberg produced was Romney (Brandon Montell '15), characterized by his serious personality and love of the stock market. As the play progressed, it followed the story of Romney's rise in the business and political worlds. 

One day, Romney heard on the news that the White House had become like a machine, complete with wired rooms and new technology. Upon learning this, Romney fell in love with the Pennsylvania Avenue residence. He breaks into a song-and-dance routine full of robotic, political and sexual jokes - "You turn my floppy disk into a hard drive" and "I can put the O in Oval Office" - which had the audience laughing with delight. 

While trying to figure out how he could attain the presidency and begin a love affair with the White House, he was visited by the ghost of Lehman Brothers (Roie Levin '15), who sang a rendition of "Popular" from "Wicked." But instead of teaching him how to be popular, the ghost interchanged the word with "conservative," teaching him how to appeal to the Republican Party. 

Though "Popular" was the only unoriginal music in the performance, it received enormous applause and laughter from the audience due to its cleverly revised lyrics.

The show climaxed when a hysterical newscaster (William Underwood '15) told Romney that a rumor that he was a robot was circulating. Nervous that his secret had been revealed, Romney was visited by Zuckerberg and a seductive White House (Dane Jones '15). 

They convinced Romney that the only way to win would be to convince young people not to vote, and the show ended with a call for young people to vote in this year's election.

The "Romney is a Robot" storyline was both funny and creative. "(Archibold) really tied in some clever humor," Alon Sacks '15 said. 

"I thought the music was really great," said Kristen Gardner '15. "I don't know how people think of things like that."

Despite the story's premise and clear liberal leaning, audience members from both sides of the aisle could easily enjoy the musical. 

"A Republican would laugh at it," Gardner said. "It was far enough out and not too personal."

"It's not a show that has a very strong political agenda," Archibold said. "It's more about the funniness. I just hope people will be entertained."


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