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Wordless and all [KAMP] is a deeply poetic work.
– The Irish Times
Hotel Modern’s award-winning 2005 masterwork, KAMP is, in every way, a performance of necessity and a daring representation of the world we live in.
First shared in Toronto by World Stage in 2013, KAMP presents a single, unremarkable day in a city purpose-built for the annihilation of human life. An enormous scale model of Auschwitz fills the stage. It contains overcrowded barracks, a railway track and a gateway with the infamous slogan, “Arbeit Macht Frei.” This colossal scale model is inhabited by thousands of 8cm-tall handmade puppets that represent the prisoners and their executioners at an astonishing ratio of 1 to 10.
Filming the events with tiny cameras and setting the puppets to tasks both horrific and banal, the extraordinary artists of the Netherlands’ Hotel Modern themselves become models. Their resolution in this work is to salvage human creativity from the banality of evil and depravity. The performance is as vital today as it has ever been.
Dutch theatre group Hotel Modern blends visual art, puppetry, music, film and performance in expressive theatre productions. The group’s visual language is rich and playful. Scale models play an important role in their work, allowing Hotel Modern to view the world literally from a macro perspective.
The horror of war is a frequently recurring theme in the group’s work: KAMP is a theatrical portrait of Auschwitz, while The Great War depicts the First World War as seen through the eyes of the soldiers. Hotel Modern also make absurdist, lighter-hearted work, such as Shrimp Tales, which is a high-spirited portrayal of humanity in which 350 real, dried shrimps play the roles of people.
The members of Hotel Modern are idealistic in the sense that they believe that theatre can foster a sense of reconciliation. They seek to offer solace in a world where people are sometimes afraid of one another. The group achieves this not by presenting a rose-tinted vision of the world, but by formulating a refined, confronting and poetic interpretation of reality.
Hotel Modern was founded in 1997. Its members are the actors Arlène Hoornweg and Pauline Kalker, and the artist and performer Herman Helle. The composers Arthur Sauer and Ruud van der Pluijm often collaborate with the group.
Hotel Modern is based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The group performs all over the world: from Paris to Tokyo and from Moscow to New York.
Join one of our provocative World Stage Scholars-in-Residence (VK Preston and Matt Sergi) for a pre-show tea. VK and Matt, both professors at the University of Toronto, have created a series of structured, highly interactive discussions, custom-fit to each show in our season, to get World Stage audiences thinking, debating, and buzzing with questions as they enter the theatre. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to the opening performance of KAMP.
Following this evening’s performance, connect with the artists as they field your questions and discuss the work you’ve just seen. It’s the most direct behind-the-scenes access you can get. Admission is free with the purchase of your ticket.