- Premiere Year 1999
City Now is an ambitious attempt to portray a metropolis - a city kept in motion with the help of actors, souvenirs, bread rolls, and a spectaculair set constructed out of refrigerator boxes. We zoom through streets, squares, walls and rooms to reach deep into the inhabitants' innermost thoughts.
City Now is our 'proto-performance'. This was the first time we worked with scale models onstage and developed our theatrical language.
From the jury report of the Incentive Prize for Puppetry awarded to Hotel Modern in 1999: "And so we sit, glued to our seats and won over by the evident pleasure of those working onstage and also by the continually surprising visual language, which is understandable for a wide range of audiences."
"There is no compelling narrative this time from Hotel Modern, no attempt to box up the chaotic nature of the day and a night in the city. How then do they manage to capture it so successfully and attractively? They do so by manoeuvring themselves in such a skilful, inventive and deceptively casual way from moment to moment." (NRC Handelsblad)
Reviews & articles
Incentive Prize for Puppetry 1999
For the last two years no suitable candidate has been found to be encouraged to go further along the puppet and object theatre route. It was therefore with some expectation of disappointment that the jury once again set to work. Regrettably, we rarely encountered scintillating new work, and the dramaturgy often left much to be […]
by the jury: Bregje Boonstra, Javier Lopez Pinon, Wim Meuwissen Read More
For the last two years no suitable candidate has been found to be encouraged to go further along the puppet and object theatre route. It was therefore with some expectation of disappointment that the jury once again set to work. Regrettably, we rarely encountered scintillating new work, and the dramaturgy often left much to be desired.
Happily, there was one performance that made the jury exceptionally optimistic and upbeat. City Now by the young group Hotel Modern – designer Herman Helle and actresses Pauline Kalker and Arlène Hoornweg – offers an agglomeration of talent. Using an enormous assemblage of empty boxes and other packaging material, along with a sophisticated lighting design and an evocative soundscape, they create a metropolis. For a night and a day, the audience is submerged into the seething, noisy chaos that is City.
Fridge boxes form a realistic skyline. Tiny illuminated elevators shoot up and down, while on a roof a collection of elegant perfume bottles stroll about at a sophisticated party. Earlier, from the same roof, a banana threw himself down in a suicidal act. A six pack of beer drifts through the night like a mob of babbling football supporters, and behind the red lit windows of a brothel, and erotic shadowplay can be spied upon. Occasional moments of rest are built into the visual spectacle, and at these times the macro level is left behind to zoom in on the lives of the citizens behind the doors of their cardboard boxes, caught in the intimacy of their domestic existence. And some of them burst out in bizarre and ultimately hilarious monologues.
And so we sit, glued to our seats and won over by the evident pleasure of those working onstage and also by the continually surprising visual language, which is understandable for a wide range of audiences. After a seemingly endless line of bread rolls has passed, a large loaf comes around the corner. ‘Ah, the bus!’ exclaims the neatly dressed, grey-haired gentleman sitting in front of us. It is perhaps a particular attribute of puppet and object theatre that it speaks both to the child in the adult and to the adult in the child. An attribute the makers of City Now most surely possess. It is, therefore, with unanimity and pleasure that the jury wishes to award the incentive prize to Hotel Modern.
Tourdates City Now
- View all our tourdates in the agenda
Makers and cast Herman Helle, Pauline Kalker, Arlène Hoornweg, Ruud van der Pluijm Stage assistant Heleen Wiemer Non-performing makers Carolien Adriaansche, Harriët van Reek, Mirijam Neve Sound design and live performance Ruud van der Pluijm Technicians Joost ten Hage, André Goos Poster and flyer design Ralph Prins, Sibe Kokke/notdef Subsidy Performing Arts Fund NL, City of Rotterdam