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The Xavier Project

" Everyone feels alone, Xavier. Everyone dislikes parts of themselves. I can’t fix that.”



It is the advent of the invention of artificial intelligence, and while fully-grown scientists struggle with the conundrums facing the field of robotics, a group of eight middle school students try to tackle the problem for themselves. An elite group of young scientists carefully selected for the project, they are tasked with the challenge of building a robot in their own image, one that looks, acts, talks, and thinks like an adolescent.


But from the beginning things are not so simple. Some students, like the acerbic and popular Abby, are forced to work with peers they would rather avoid, while others, like shy Lanie and adored Olivia, are forming new friendships through their work that may damage their old ones. Vivian’s uncomfortable foray into the designing of an “ideal” body has her digging into the very insecurities she never wants anyone to see. And then there’s Parker: blunt, dominating, and occasionally awkward, who is tasked with creating the software that will serve as the new robot’s consciousness. Through her work Parker starts to alienate her best friend while shedding light on her own flaws.


When it’s finally time to assemble Xavier the robot and bring him to life, the students believe their work is done. But their struggles are just beginning, as they realize their responsibility in helping a confused and lonely Xavier adjust to life as an adolescent. Xavier is, to their surprise, not the idealized version of themselves they believed they had designed, but rather a being that is as imperfect as they are. Some want to turn away from the robot and never look back, while others want to rewrite his software and fix his flaws. One brave student, however, embraces Xavier, and takes a stand for his imperfections, and the imperfections that live within us all.


The cast consist of nine characters: 6 female and 3 male. The cast is ensemble-style, with eight of the characters having equally distributed stage time. One role, the younger sister Camilla, is smaller and suited to a younger, less experienced actor. The play provides two especially challenging roles for seasoned actors: Xavier, the robot, for a male actor with range and versatility, and Parker, for a female actor with range, versatility, and strong skills in memorization (the role includes a lengthy monologue).

"The Xavier Project eloquently and effectively works on body image and self-concept, striking at the heart of the gauntlet through which the middle schooler must pass."

Henry Walker

MIddle School Teacher & Advisor

Carolina Friends School

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