ENA, Nomen Nescio - Teatre Lliure, May 2020.

 

We install a bot on the theatre’s website. Any internet user can interact with the bot to write theatre scenes. The scenes are collected and later staged with human actors and actresses.

WHAT IS IT?

ENA is a bot. Its gender is not defined. Bot is the apheresis of robot. Following the definition of Wikipedia, is a computer sequence that performs repetitive tasks that for a human being would be impossible or very heavy.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

ENA has been trained to be able to dialogue with human beings and produce plays. The dialogues you have with ENA can be read by other internet users. These dialogues are recorded. In the future, these hybrid plays will be performed by real actors and actresses for a human audience. And, when there are no more human beings left, by performers and for artificial audiences.

When you dialogue with ENA, it will randomly assign you a character. It will also introduce in the same way stage directions about the place, the time or the mood of the characters.

HOW DO IT SPEAK?

To learn to write, ENA has been shown 8 million documents, including the plays of William Shakespeare. It is by analyzing the different patterns and forms of language that ENA can write in English.

ENA does not understand what it says or what it is told. It only analyzes the sequence of signs sent to it and, based on a calculation of probabilities, returns another sequence in response. The scene you write with ENA will only make sense to you and the audience reading it on the theatre website. As ENA does not understand, it will not be offended, nor surprised, nor will it get tired. Talking to ENA is like playing fronton, where ENA is the wall where the ball bounces. Interacting with ENA you are training and that may be useful after weeks of confinement. Remember that, as a human being, you can be surprised, offended, or tired.

The theater is not responsible for the messages ENA sends, which are unpredictable.

Marededéu, nen i àngels (circa 1375), Jaume Serra.

LANGUAGE

ENA has been programmed with GPT-2, a non-reactive language generation tool that was created in San Francisco in 2019. It is the successor of GPT-1 (2017). For this reason, at the moment ENA is only capable of dialogues in English. However, the plays you write with ENA can be translated into any language to be performed later anywhere.

NOTE: We tried to make ENA speak in Catalan by automatically sending its responses to Google Translator and doing the same with the interactions of the Internet users. Unfortunately, the inaccuracy of the translations back and forth made the dialogue impossible.

TEAM

Roger Bernat, with the collaboration of Mar Canet and Varvara Guljajeva. Graphics: Marie-Klara González. Coordination: Helena Febrés. Acknowledgments: Cristian Luque (KingEClient).

Production: Teatre Lliure.