Uncanny Valley

We mostly think of robots as work machines, as efficient and precise executors of tasks. In German industry, they barely look like people, to avoid emotional complications. Unlike in Asia, where humanoid robots have already been developed for some time, for example for care-work or as sex partners. The external similarity to human beings makes the acceptance of machines easier. However, if the machine is too similar to a human, we begin to feel mistrust: what is human, what is machine? Japanese robotics researchers call this weird similarity the “uncanny valley”. For his play, Stefan Kaegi works with a writer and playwright for the first time: Thomas Melle allowed an animatronic double of himself to be made. This humanoid takes the author’s place and throws up questions: what does it mean for the original when the copy takes over? Does the original get to know himself better through his electronic double? Do the copy and his original compete or do they help each other?

Concept, Text & Direction: Stefan Kaegi
Text / Body / Voice: Thomas Melle
Equipment: Evi Bauer
Animatronic: Chiscreatures Filmeffects GmbH
Manufacturing and Art Finish of the silicone head / coloration and hair: Tommy Opatz
(2023) Manufacturing and Art Finishing of the silicone head and coloring: Ina Chochol;
Hair punching: Susanna Lang;
Mounting-systems and rework animatronics: Jörg Steegmüller/Steegmüller Skulpturen
Dramaturgy: Martin Valdés-Staube
Video Design: Mikko Gaestel
Musik: Nicolas Neecke
Production management Rimini Protokoll / Touring: Monica Ferrari
Light Design / Touring: Robert Läßig, Martin Schwemin, Lisa Eßwein
Sound- and Video Design / Touring: Jaromir Zezula, Nikolas Neecke, Manuela Schininá

This play from Rimini Protokoll has originally been produced by the Münchner Kammerspiele, in coproduction with Berliner Festspiele – Immersion, donaufestival (Krems), Feodor Elutine (Moscow), FOG Triennale Milano Performing Arts (Milano), Temporada Alta – Festival de Tador de Catalunya (Girona), SPRING Utrecht
Performing rights: Rowohlt Theater Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg