Stefan Kaegi

Uncanny Valley

Rimini Protokoll / Berlin / DE


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?


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



Stefan Kaegi creates documentary theatre plays, audio-interventions, curated formats and works in the urban environment in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, he often gives voice to ‘experts’ who are not trained actors but have something to tell.


Recent works include the multi-player-video-piece “Situation Rooms”, “100% São Paulo” with 100 local citizens on stage and the “World Climate Conference”, a simulation of the UN-conference for 650 spectators in Schauspielhaus Hamburg. His „Utopolis“ for 48 portable loudspeakers opened at the Manchester International Festival. More and more he also creates works for museums: The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) recently showed their eco-installation „win < > win“ as well as their immersive walkable movie „Urban Nature“. He has adapted “Remote X”, an audio tour for 50 headphones to dozens of cities from Taipei to Santiago de Chile, and toured the interactive installation “Nachlass” that portrays people who have not left much time to live.


In 2005 Kaegi won the jury-prize of the festival “Politik im Freien Theater” for Mnemopark. 2010 Kaegi was awarded the European Prize for Cultural Diversity. In 2011 the jury prize for “Radio Muezzin” in the Theatre Festival Sarajevo. This performance was also presented at the Reflex2 Festival. In 2015 his performanec Remote Moscow was nominated for the Golden Mask in Russia. And in 2018 he won the Grand Prize of Bitef Festival Belgrade for “Nachlass”.



Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel founded the theatre-label Rimini Protokoll in 2000 and have since worked in different constellations under this name. Work by work they have expanded the means of the theatre to create new perspectives on reality.


Rimini Protokoll often develop their stage-works, interventions, performative installations and audio plays together with experts who have gained their knowledge and skills beyond the theatre. Furthermore, they like to transpose rooms or social structures into theatrical formats. Many of their works feature interactivity and a playful use of technology.


Rimini Protokoll received the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis, the German theatre award Faust, the Grand Prix Theatre from the Swiss Federal Office for Culture, the European Theatre Award, the Silver Lion at the Theatre Biennale in Venice, as well as the German Audio Play Award and the War Blinded Audio Play Prize. Since 2003, the production office of Rimini Protokoll is in Berlin.



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
Manufacturing and Art Finish of the silicone head / coloration and hair, Rework animatronics (2023): Steegmüller Skulpturen


Dramaturgy: Martin Valdés-Stauber

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


Duration: 1 hour – without interval
language: EN
simultaneous translation: HU, RO


Premiere: 2018.