It Isn't Real by Katie DiPietro
Cast of Characters:
TANA: (f./m.) Lead assistant for the scientist group. Energetic,
compassionate, clever, optimistic
TILLY: (f./m.) Guardian Laboratories Scientist. Sibling of Alpha
Chancellor KAVO. Bright, enthusiastic, imaginative, impulsive,
JETT: (m.) Guardian Laboratories Scientist. Friendly, teasing,
GIDEON: (f./m.) Lead scientist. Cold, scheming, dark,
arrogant, uncaring, haughty
BRINK: (m.) Reporter. Irreverent, charismatic. Voice of the budding
MILO: (m.) Author of "My Year with CAIA." In love with CAIA.
Observant, loyal, pensive, independent
CAIA: (f.) Cryogenic Artificial Intelligence Android. Kind,
passionate, open-minded, gentle
ALPHA CHANCELLOR KAVO: (f./m.) The leader of the free
world. Sibling of TILLY. Evil, cruel, merciless, manipulative,
RAMSES: (ANIMAL) During the original production, RAMSES was played by
a live gecko. A prop animal will work just as well.
[TANA, TILLY, GIDEON, and KAVO can be cast as any gender. Pronouns and
names can be edited for performance purposes, as casting indicates.
The roles of TANA, TILLY, GIDEON, and KAVO are written as female and
BRINK is written as male in this script in accordance with original
ACT 1, SCENE 2:
SETTING: BRINK Set. A portion of the stage has been transformed into a
television interview studio.
AT RISE: BRINK and MILO sit in front of the camera. The mood is
light. [SIGN CUE: The Present]
BRINK: Welcome to "Digital Digest." I am your host, ROMAN BRINK,
and I am being joined by MILO Lennox, the author of the best seller,
"My year with CAIA." MILO, welcome.
MILO: Thank you.
BRINK: The world has been waiting with bated breath for the release of
this book. When, My Year with CAIA left the publishers last week, it
took 48 hours to sell over 6 billion copies worldwide. This greatly
anticipated novel concerns the controversial subject of CAIA, the
world's first bio-hybrid robot. MILO, tell us about your book.
MILO: When GIDEON's team approached me a little over a year ago, I
wasn't sure what they were asking of me. They said they wanted a
first-hand account of who CAIA was. I felt it was a little unorthodox,
seeing as they had designed and created her. I didn't understand
what they were asking.
BRINK: Take us back to the beginning. Tell us how it all started.
[SIGN CUE: FLASHBACK: THE INTRODUCTION]
TANA: Hi, MILO! Welcome! We're very excited to see you here.
TILLY: I thought you were going to back out.
TANA: He's here, now, and that's what's important.
JETT: You've read the information we sent over to your office?
MILO: Yes, I have.
TANA: Good. That's all you need to know.
MILO: It didn't explain much.
TILLY: It wasn't supposed to. We didn't want you to have bias when
you met CAIA.
TILLY: Of course! She was a very controversial experiment, after all.
You know the whole "Frankenstein-Raising-People-From-The-Dead"
TANA: Stop talking, TILLY.
MILO: She doesn't have a personality, does she? She's a robot. How
could I possibly learn who she is?
Jet: You'd be surprised. She's actually very
TANA: (cutting him off) Why don't you come inside and see for
[The group enters CAIA's chambers. TANA pulls out a chair for MILO
TANA: I'll take it from here, guys. Why don't you go take a turn
and check the building thermometers?
TILLY: But I want to
TANA: (cutting her off) now, please.
[Sulkily, JETT and TILLY exit the stage]
TANA: (calling offtstage) CAIA, there's someone here to see you! (to
MILO) She'll be out in just a minute.
BRINK: (reading from the book) "I was apprehensive about our
meeting, of course. Sitting in the cold room, I pulled my sweater
tighter around myself, hoping to keep out a chill. But when she
entered, the room seemed to change. Temperature aside, she was very
[Enter CAIA. MILO stands when she enters]
CAIA: Hello, TANA. I did not know that I would be seeing you this
morning. I am pleased.
TANA: Hi CAIA, I'd like you to meet my friend, MILO.
CAIA: I did know that I would be meeting you today, MILO. You are here
to study me. I hope to make a good impression. I am pleased to make
MILO: What am I supposed to do? Shake her hand?
CAIA: You could shake her hand, if you would like, but I think it
would be polite to first acknowledge that she can hear you.
TANA: CAIA is a bit cheeky. We love it.
MILO: I'm sorry, CAIA, I haven't
CAIA: (cutting him off)ever spoken to a robot before. To the best
of my knowledge, I have not done so either. This must be a jarringly
new experience for you.
MILO: (a little stunned) It's nice to meet you?
TANA: I'd better be off. I need to go and uhbe busy somewhere
else. MILO, I'll come back to get you in about 20 minutes. You
didn't wear a very good coat, so you'll be pretty well frozen by
then. Next time, wear layers.
[TANA exits, leaving CAIA and MILO standing in the room alone. They
stand in an uncomfortable silence for a while as MILO searches for a
topic of conversation.]
MILO: You looknice.
CAIA: Thank you. I am wearing a red dress.
MILO: I like it.
CAIA: I knew that you would.
MILO: How's that?
CAIA: I chose the color red because of the many psychological studies,
which have been uploaded into my servers. According to Dr. Niesta,
something as ubiquitous as color has the potential to subliminally
affect the way that people are perceived by each other. Red has been
shown to provoke a positive response in primates and is universally
attractive. In studies, it was found that men prefer a woman in a red
garment over any other color in 87% of cases. I also chose a dress
because I did not want you to feel intimidated when we met. I believed
that the dress would seem playful as opposed to analytical and
MILO: Good call.
CAIA: You are using sarcasm.
MILO: It's a nice dress.
CAIA: Yes, it is. My hair is conventionally attractive, as well.
CAIA: I am sensing distance between us. Is my observation unnatural to
MILO: Which observation?
CAIA: That my hair is attractive
MILO: It's not polite, I suppose.
MILO: Because people don't usually point out their positive
CAIA: That is an unpleasant sociological fact.
MILO: Not unpleasant. I don't think that is the most appropriate
CAIA: Must everything be appropriate? Is that a characteristic of
MILO: I suppose it isn't
CAIA: Do you think it should be?
MILO: Do I think "appropriate" should be a requirement of human
CAIA: Yes, that is my question.
MILO: (taking a moment to think) No.
CAIA: Do you think I'm beautiful?
CAIA: Your pupils are dilating.
CAIA: I have made you nervous
CAIA: I should apologize. I do not wish to be antagonistic. Are you
CAIA: Do you think I'm beautiful?
CAIA: Is this appropriate?
MILO: (quickly) no!
CAIA: Then why are you smiling?
MILO: I don't know how to react.
CAIA: Your brain does. The spontaneous nature of smiling dictates that
it is not contrived or planned. You are smiling now which means that
you are feeling a positive emotion, which is causing a muscular
reaction. I am making you smile.
MILO: (still smiling) Well, when you put it that way
CAIA: Are you happy?
MILO: In this moment?
MILO: UmYes. Awkwardness asideyes. I am happy.
CAIA: Good. I was nervous to meet you, but now I feel warmly towards
you. I am happy we had this conversation.
MILO: (smiling, and a little confused)good.
[TANA and JETT enter]
TANA: Hey, there, MILO! Sorry I had to come back so soon. Your body
temperature is dropping quickly and I think we need to cut this one
TANA: No buts. He'll be back again soon. (to MILO) Won't you?
MILO: Yes, I will. I'd like that.
TANA: JETT, please show MILO out.
JETT: I told you that you'd be surprised.
[SIGN CUE: THE PRESENT]
BRINK: (reading from the book) "I walked away from that first
meeting knowing that my life would never be the same again. CAIA was
invigorating, remarkably challenging and yet surprisingly, for lack of
a better word, 'human.'"
ACT 1, SCENE 10:
SETTING: In Caia's chambers. A thermometer is visible, listing the
temperature at 28 degrees Celsius.
AT RISE: Tana sits in Caia's chair looking concerned. Caia is
pacing. [SIGN CUE: FLASHBACK: EXPERIENCE]
TANA: What's wrong, CAIA?
CAIA: I think I am feeling frustration.
TANA: I saw your conversation with MILO. That was rough.
CAIA: I know. I know that I was wrong. I still feel like I was not
asking for too much. I wanted him to share with me. How can I express
that if I don't just ask him?
TANA: Sounds like the script for every romantic comedy film in
TILLY: Hey TANA, GIDEON wants to talk to us.
TANA: Ok, I'll be right out.
CAIA: Thank you for giving me this lizard. He is a handsome pet.
TANA: You're welcome! I love pets. It looks like the two of you have
really developed a friendship!
CAIA: I was amazed by it. It's strange to be an inherently fragile
living thing, myself. Now I am being entrusted with the care of
something that is exponentially more vulnerable. It is a wonderful
responsibility. He brings me quite a lot of happiness.
TANA: That's an interesting way to look at it.
CAIA: The vast majority of human history indicates that authority and
power are greedy rewards. Often, people who have the upper hand seek
to destroy instead of "care for." I do not want to destroy this
animal. I was to use my small authority to help it to thrive. I wish
MILO were here. I want to know what he thinks about this.
TILLY: TANA, come on. GIDEON's impatient.
TANA: Ok, I'm coming.
[TANA goes "outside of CAIA's chambers," but remains onstage
with the other scientists]
GIDEON: First thing's first.
[GIDEON presses a button to lock the door. Note: In the original
production, the door was lit by LED lights which were controlled via
remote. The door was lit with GREEN when it was "unlocked" and RED
TANA: Why are you
GIDEON: We are adding something to the experience list.
TANA: Ok? What's that?
GIDEON: All humans experience loss. It changes them.
JETT: What is she losing?
GIDEON: The little king.
TILLY: Are we taking it away? Or hiding it or something?
GIDEON: In addition to loss, we are going to facilitate guilt in CAIA.
JETT: I don't like where this is going.
TILLY: It could be cruel.
GIDEON: I don't care. Please observe. I want as many notes as
TILLY: Observe what?
GIDEON: Who can tell me: what is an inherent characteristic of CAIA
that sets her apart from humans?
JETT: She's 98% robot?
GIDEON: No, something else.
GIDEON: What do animals need to survive?
GIDEON: Very good, JETT.
GIDEON: CAIA will not notice the absence of what?
GIDEON: Excellent. Now, she has been given a lizard. This particular
species of lizard has the ability to hibernate at colder temperatures.
The animal will be perfectly safe, but it will appear in every way
dead, if the temperature would suddenly drop.
GIDEON: Please watch closely.
TANA: No! Stop! CAIA doesn't know the difference!
JETT: It will crush her!
[GIDEON presses a button and the temperature gauge on the outside of
CAIA's chambers will begin to drop rapidly. CAIA is playing with her
lizard. The pet stops moving. CAIA begins to panic. The three
scientists try to get in the door. After a time, GIDEON unlocks the
door and CAIA is able to get out]
CAIA: There is something wrong! He is not moving!
TANA: Oh, CAIA
CAIA: I think he is dead!
GIDEON: You killed it, CAIA.
CAIA: What? No, I didn't, I
GIDEON: You are too cold.
CAIA: But I was warming him like you told me. I did everything right!
GIDEON: You failed to notice the temperature changing. Now your
companion is dead.
CAIA: (crying) I am so sorry! I'm sorry! I .
GIDEON: Everything you are sustains death, not life. You caused death
because you are frozen. Who you are and what you are is nothing but
CAIA: (crying) I can't
[CAIA hands the lizard to TANA and runs offstage]
JETT: (pause) I don't agree with what we just did.
GIDEON: I'm not paying you to agree. I'm paying you to obey.
[During the scene change, cross off the words, "LOSS" and
"GUILT" on the whiteboard]
[End of Extract]