November 12th Fri, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM | Arcidiecézní muzeum – Mozarteum
Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll Berlin) – Thomas Melle – Münchner Kammerspiele
Stefan Kaegi, one part of the world-renowned directors’ collective Rimini Protokoll, has been toying with the borders of what the word ‘theatre’ can represent for twenty years already. He substituted actors with experts from the streets, seated the audience into the trailer of a truck, or made them delegates in a simulated climate conference. The audience often needs technical equipment such as headphones, tablets or smartphones. Kaegi and Rimini Protokoll simply do not follow any traditional theatre rules but instead create them once again in the spirit of modern times. As a result, enthusiastic theatre audiences from New York to Singapore or Melbourne can enjoy an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Kaegi, the “theatre inventor,” joined forces with the renowned writer Thomas Melle and the awarded theatre Münchner Kammerspiele in Uncanny Valley. A unique Frankenstein project was created which captivated audiences across the globe: the production does not have any actors on stage, but a robot modelled after none other than the co-author Melle. The introvert writer has been fighting diagnoses of a bipolar disorder and if he had a choice would escape public life altogether. He sees a chance to finally get his public performance under control in his doppelganger: “After sharing the part of my mind that I extracted for my book, I have now outsourced my body and can let it do tours and all the unpleasant stuff.“ This seemingly utopian thought becomes the starting point for the production, where a robotic speaker invites us to the riveting world of prosthesis, 3D printers and AI to look deep at the very bottom of the human heart in the end.
What makes a human being human? How does he or her differ from machines and what do they have in common? Where do the borders shift in a world where genetic engineering grows and chips get implanted under the skin? Considering even the robotic Melle winks, makes gestures and nods… Anyway: Is this even theatre at all? Or is its future form taking shape right in front of us?
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
dramaturgy Martin Valdés-Stauber
video design Mikko Gaestel
music Nicolas Neecke
Production management Rimini Protokoll / touring Epona Hamdan
light design / touring Martin Schwemin
sound and video design / touring Jaromir Zezula
Premiere 4 October 2018
The artist Stefan Kaegi (1972) was born in Switzerland and makes up a third of the Rimini Protokoll ensemble. He stages documentary theatre productions, sound installation as well as site-specific productions where he often combines the economic relationship with the impact on people. For example, his journey around the world in the cab of a lorry with two Bulgarian drivers led to the road-project Cargo Sofia-X (2006; then Cargo X, 2019), where Kaegi adapted a trailer to a mobile auditorium for 50 audience members/passengers. His immersive sound excursion Remote, inspired by GPS navigation, can be currently heard in such different urban locations as Santiago de Chile, Shanghai, Moscow or New York, and enables the visitors as well as inhabitants of the city to together experience a unique walk. In the production Nachlass (Rooms Without People) at Théâtre Vidy in Lausanne, he prepared a show with people who do not have very much time remaining before their death. He was awarded many international prizes for his projects, such as the prestigious European Prize for Cultural Diversity. In 2019, he created a humanoid robot to perform as a clone of the German writer Thomas Melle in the production Uncanny Valley.
The writer Thomas Melle (1975) studied comparative literature and philosophy at the university in Tübingen, in Austin, Texas and in Berlin where he currently lives. His debut came about in 2004 with his theatre play 4 Millionen Türen (4 Million Doors), later he was twice nominated for the prestigious Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis award for the best first produced German production of the year: for his drama Bilder von uns (2016) and Transfer (2018). He primarily gained renown, however, as a prose writer. His novel 3000 Euro (2014) was shortlisted for the German Book Prize, just like his highly-appraised autobiography Die Welt im Rücken (2016), which was – as the only book by Melle – published in Czech translation in 2018 under the title Svět v zádech. The author provides unique insight into the life and mind of a man who suffers from a bipolar disorder. Burgtheater Wien produced an adaptation of the novel directed by Jan Bosse with Joachim Meyerhoff in the leading role. It was invited to the prestigious Theatertreffen festival in 2018.