The Turk is supported by The Arts Council of England and is a piece of dark mystery, philosophical adventure and dramatic showmanship. Here’s a quick introduction…
In 1770 an incredible ‘thinking machine’ was presented to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria that was to influence and bamboozle the world for over 80 years.
A life-sized automaton in the fashionable garb of a ‘mysterious’ Turk gazed down onto two opposing armies of chessmen. A Key was inserted, the mechanism was wound and in a whirring of cogs The Turk came to life, raising its head and making its move.
With historical opponents from Napoleon to Beethoven, Barnum to Babbage, Benjamin Franklin to Edgar Allan Poe, The Turk’s enigmatic legacy of technology and chess paved the way for the future of computing, automation, artificial intelligence and even magic.
1838. Interior. Ships hold. Night.
Surrounded by well-travelled packing crates and empty wine bottles, a drunken and dying Johann Nepomuk Maelzel revisits scenes from his life, losses and adventures with the amazing, chess playing automaton known as, The Turk.
Fuelled with alcohol and yellow fevered madness, Maelzel and The Turk explore the sacrifice of the showman, the promise of the engineer and the passion of the dreamer against a philosophical backdrop of life, love, cognition and existence.
…The show incorporates intrigue, mystery and dark humour along with atmospheric sound, music, song…and even robotics!!! I wondered if you might be interested in perhaps letting your adult members know as it has an obvious chess connection and really tries to open up discussion into how we process our own ideas of self, being and existence through reason and analysis alongside our ever moving relationship with the machine. There are telling connections here with computing, artificial intelligence and, of course, chess itself.