Singapore Arts Festival 2006 - The Great War



Arts Festival 2006


~ One Season. Many Faces ~


1 – 25 June 06




The Great War


Hotel Modern (The Netherlands)


(Asian Premiere)


 Date : 16 & 17 June 2006, 8pm
    17 June 2006, 3pm
 Venue : Esplanade Theatre Studio
 Tickets : $35
 Duration : 80 minutes (no intermission)


“World War 1 diaries and letters are brought to live in a theatrical experience that is poignant, powerful and yet so simple that at times, it brings tears to the eyes. “ 
– Daily Post


This company show how deeply affecting theatre can be.” – BBC Radio Merseyside


“Herman Helle and his associates turn playthings into a reflection of reality, reminding us how our lives can be vulnerable to manipulation by unseen hands.” – The Herald


In the second of the Festival’s ‘live animation’ theatre presentations this year, audiences will witness epic battle scenes, all from a miniature film set installed in a theatre.


The Great War brings to life real letters and diary accounts of soldiers from the First World War. Through live animation, simple props and projections, the effect created is a hyper realistic portrayal of conflict and destruction.  Fences, trees, soil, barb wire and other elements that make up the battle scenes are reconstructed through the use of materials such as matches, parsley, beans, rusty nails, sawdust, smoke bombs, plasticine and mud, to name a few. Rain is created from a plant moisturizer while a gas-jet is used to depict bombardment. Filmed with digital cameras and edited ‘live’, these images become larger than life with spectacular projections. Simultaneously, a live soundtrack enhances the action as toy soldiers and tanks are manipulated on set.


Created by a Dutch multi-disciplinary theatre group, Hotel Modern, this production addresses the terrible pain of war and the cruel absurdity of the world. A large part of the texts used in The Great War consists of letters by a French soldier, Prospert, written to his mother during his long stay in the trenches. “What makes these texts moving are the practical, sometimes intimate details when they are expressed. They constitute the monologue intérieur of a trench filled with people,” says Hotel Modern.


The production is striking for the contrast it draws between the tiny scale of the performance and the enormity of the events that it represents. Conceived by Herman Helle, The Great War has toured several European countries, including Belgium,Germany, England, France, Italy, Spain, Scotland and Slovenia. Besides garnering international acclaim and success,  this production has won many accolades, such as the ‘Public’s Vote’ award at the Festival aan de Werf and the ‘Erik Vos’ award for young theatre makers.


The Singapore tour is the production’s first foray in Asia and the evocative performance promises to bring an enlightening experience to audiences young and old.


Please refer to the attached annexes for more information:


  • Synopsis
  • Profiles of Creative Team & Performers
  • Credit List
  •  Profile of Hotel Modern (The Netherlands)