- Plays this season
- Premiere Year 2019
Hotel Modern & Arthur Sauer turn their gaze to the rise of 'our' East Indies. Our Empire provides stories about the early history of the Netherlands and Indonesia.
A vast scale model of the Indonesian archipelago fills the stage. We see paddy fields, rainforests, mosques, villages and cities. This island kingdom in miniature is populated by hundreds of 8cm-tall puppets.
The stories take place in the 17th century. We see Javanese princesses performing ancient court dances, and markets selling cloves, nutmeg and pepper. We watch enterprising Dutch merchants arrive at the islands in their mighty sailing ships, in search of costly spices. To safeguard their trade, they bring along powerful mercenary armies that seize control of more and more of the islands. We see cannons blasting, ships sinking, villages going up in flames, and princes selling spices and their own souls to the Dutch.
Hotel Modern uses ingenious puppetry to show how the process of colonisation took place.
The decision to create Our Empire was inspired by the family history of core company member Herman Helle, whose parents were born in the Dutch East Indies. In the course of our research we consulted with Indonesian artists, historians and Dutch people with an Indonesian background.
"The bloody battlefield may seem to take place on a miniscule scale - its impact is as poignant, astonishing as it is far-reaching." (Scenes)
"The love and attention that has gone into the creation of the puppets and the scale models is truly awe-inspiring." (Movement Exposed)
"Our Empire never turnes unbearably dark. Because of the dedication and humor, it's full of compassion." (Volkskrant)
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Tourdates Our Empire
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