Algorithmic Theater: Hello Hi There

By Bryn Mawr College (other events)

2 Dates Through Sep 11, 2022


"Profoundly original … a paradigm shift”
— La Souffleur

Can you call it a play when two Macbooks are the actors? This unusual performance illustrates the extent to which a human can be replaced by a computer. 

Hello Hi There (2010) uses the famous 1970s television debate between philosopher Michel Foucault and linguist/activist Noam Chomsky as inspiration and material for a dialogue between two custom-designed chatbots. Additional source material has been drawn from YouTube, the Bible, Shakespeare, and big hits of western philosophy.

Every evening, these computer programs, designed to mimic human conversations, perform a new — improvised, as it were — live text. The two machines debate human nature and the various facets of human intelligence.

What does humanism, and the belief in human virtuosity, mean when machines and artificial intelligence are able to so easily outdo us? Can something worthwhile come out of the reflections of two computers? Hello Hi There is an intelligent, creative, sometimes scary, frequently humorous dialogue about humanity in the age of its digital reproduction. 


Hello Hi There excerpt


Concept and Direction: Annie Dorsen
Production design: Kate Howard
Systems design: Jeff Gray
Scenography and Lighting design: Edward Pierce
Chatbot software design: Robby Garner
Consultation: Nicolas Siepen and Berno Odo Polzer
Assistance: Stephen Brackett
Technical Management: Cyd Cahill
General Management: Lisa Schmidt
Production & Management: Natasha Katerinopoulos


Hello Hi There is a co-production of steirischer herbst (Graz), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen), Black Box Teater (Oslo), PS122 (NYC).

Hello Hi There was developed in part at Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC); Troy, NY.