The 20th Athens Digital Arts Festival presents “Uncanny Valley” by Rimini Protokoll

2 mins read

The Athens Digital Arts Festival announces the presentation of Uncanny Valley, a groundbreaking performance by the renowned German theatre group Rimini Protokoll. This highly anticipated show will take place on May 24 and 25, 2024, at the National Theatre’s REX Theatre on the “Eleni Papadaki” Stage, as part of the festival’s 20th anniversary edition, ADAF 2024: TECHNO(S)CENE.

“Uncanny Valley” is a provocative exploration of the fine line between human and machine, directed by Stefan Kaegi. The performance challenges our perceptions of identity and the essence of humanity by introducing an animatronic double of the author and playwright Thomas Melle. As this humanoid takes the author’s place, it prompts deep reflection on the relationship between the original and its electronic counterpart.

Performance Overview

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

About Rimini Protokoll

Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel form a team of authors-directors since 2000. They are based at HAU, Berlin, since 2003. Their projects in the realm of theater, sound and radio plays, film and installation, emerge as solo, but also in constellations of two or three. Since 2002, all their works have been written collectively under the label Rimini Protokoll. Their work focuses on the continuous development of the theatrical tools, allowing for unusual perspectives on our reality.


Dates: Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25
Venue: National Theatre – REX Theatre – “Eleni Papadaki” Stage

20th Athens Digital Arts Festival “TECHNO(S)CENE”
16-26 May 2024
Former Santarosa Courthouse (18 Stadiou & Arsaki)
Justice Square (Arsaki & Panepistimiou)
National Theatre – REX Theatre (48 Panepistimiou)
Opening Hours: MON-FRI 17:00-23:00 & SAT-SUN 11:00-23:00

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