• Performance


By Rimini Protokoll


  • 50 minutes

Have you ever thought about the call center worker who contacts you to offer a service - what they’re like, where they live and how they see the world? This is your chance to find out these things and much, much more.

Who are the men and women behind the telephones of the call centers that contact us every day? What are their faces, invisible to our eyes, like? How has their work changed since the worldwide pandemic? How many of them have turned their homes into call centers? And when will they be replaced by artificial intelligence?

In this 2020 version Call Cutta, the Swiss-German company Rimini Protokoll gives us a chance to ask all those questions in what they’ve called an “intercontinental videoconference about sub-contracting and telemarketing”. In reality though, it’s much more than that. “It’s possibly the most delightful, engrossing and enjoyable 50 minutes you’ll spend with a complete stranger”, wrote the NZ Performing Acts Review & Directory in its review of Call Cutta in a box. That performance-experience was put on more than 12 years ago, with Rimini Protokoll organizing a Skype call between a call center worker in India and a visitor to a European theater. The conversation began all formal like a business meeting but ended up becoming more and more in-depth and personal.

That experience was the inspiration behind Call Cutta 2020, a performance in which up to 20 participants connect via ZOOM and take part in a conversation with a call center worker in India. This person shows them round their house, talks about their life beyond the telephone calls that connect them with people all over the world, plays videos and asks the audience questions (simultaneously translated in the chat). Little by little, the interaction gets more personal and those taking part start getting involved in the life of the person on the other side of the screen. They might even get to see their bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. They might even get to sing karaoke.

Call Cutta is an opportunity to show that even social distancing can lead to encounters of a more intimate and entertaining kind with people who are not in our day to day lives.

Cast and crew

Idea and written and directed by: Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi, Daniel Wetzel| Performers: Madhusree Mukherjee, Sunayana Roy | Technician: Ksenia Kozhevnikova | A production by Rimini Apparat, coproduced by the VI International Summer Arts Festival, The Access Point | Supported by Pro Helvetia | Based on Call Cutta, produced in 2005 by the Goethe Institute in Calcutta, together with Hau Hebbel am Ufer Berlin and Rimini Apparat and on Call Cutta in a box, produced in 2008 by HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin.

©David von Becker

Rimini Protokoll

Rimini Protokoll

Unconventional theater on a human scale

The members of Rimini Protokoll - a group of theater directors - met in the nineties while they were studying at the Institute of Applied Theater Sciences, part of the University of Giessen (Germany), a kind of elite school for avant-garde German theater. Rimini Protokoll’s members - Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel - develop their projects under this name, more often than not the three of them together but sometimes in other formations.

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