oops, wrong planet!

2011 / theater basel

The majority of the population consists of strange creatures who are referred to as neurotypical. They feel alienated by the world, and it is like aliens that they observe the strange natives. Like anthropologists from another star, they analyse human rituals in order to understand them. The others are just as strange to them as they are to the others. The neurotypicals call them autistic. They talk of neurological and biochemical disturbances that lead to the misdirection of various psychological processes. This leads to behavioural patterns that deviate from the norm. Non-conformists. They are found to be strange, idiosyncratic, obstinate, unwilling and inappropriate. Whatever they do, autistic people feel they are out of place, strangers in this world. They are the protagonists of this theatrical and musical journey in a world beyond the normal Gaussian distribution.

Christian Zehnder, the great Swiss voice artist and Gesine Schmidt, accomplished author of plays and documentaries, have each travelled into the autistic planetary system in their own way. They have brought back startling and touching music and texts about quirky individuals that thoroughly and enduringly turn our perception upside down.

christian zehnder
conception & director

gesine schmidt
christian zehnder &
tomek kolczynski


jürg egli

hyun chu
stage design




"...musician Christian Zehnder, known for his „Duo Stimmhorn“ and his idiosyncratic style of new alpine music, staged the evening and gently turned it to music together with Tomek Kolczynski (electronics), Thomas Achermann (saxophone, vocals) and Marco Ercolani (vocals). In doing so, he has risen to the challenge of leaving the documentative character of the texts intact rather than aestheticising them, while nonetheless granting them a soft-spoken expressiveness by means of electronic tones, soundscapes and occasional vocals...“

- Südkurier


"...the self-reported experiences of people with autism may not appear to be a particularly suitable basis for a theatre piece with performance elements. But Gesine Schmidt and Christian Zehnder bridge different worlds in a magical way..."

- Badische Zeitung


 "...with powerful texts, striking images and music that ranges from enchanting to occasionally disturbing, Christian Zehnder, Gesine Schmidt and their team allow us a glimpse into the universe of autistic people..."

- Art-TV


"...Theater Basel has staged a serious and impressive opening night..."

- Der Sonntag/Basellandschaftliche/MLZ