I agree with Ian Buruma of NYR Blog. Recreating the holocaust with tiny puppets made out of plasticine seems like a doomed enterprise. It seems unbelievable on paper and something that instinctively should not be attempted.

It’s funny, when you approach the ‘this should never be attempted” line one of two things happen. Disaster or Enlightenment. There isn’t often too much middle ground.

Kamp is a theatrical experience staged by the dutch company Hotel Modern. It shows the daily routine at Auschwitz prison camp. There is no dialogue. An individual carries out the task of moving the puppets about the camp. All aspects of the prisoners life are recreated. All.

I read this article first on my Google Reader and then switched over to actual site. The first thing that struck me was seeing the puppets themselves. Each puppet is frozen in horror. Buruma references ‘The Scream’ and that’s exactly what came to my mind before even reading it in the article. The puppets represent the prisoners in a way that no real actor could. Seeing humanity in this way, yes in plasticine puppet form, demonstrating the fragility of life is unique and heartbreaking.

Next, I watched a youtube video from the production which showed the set up for a hanging. It’s a slow and simple process. The ‘actor’ takes her time to place the puppets. To place the guards. To carefully hang each one.

We are often afraid of ‘the thing that should not be done’ in the theatre. With good reason I suppose – it could be a disaster. We could lose money. It’s easier to be safe. And of course, all this is subjective. What I find enlightening and full of heartbreak, the next person could find horribly offensive. We could lose money. Thus is the way of theatre.

I just admire theatrical experiences that move beyond the box. That work to be simple (which is vastly different than simplistic). That make me feel, that make me think without making me feel stupid.

I wish I could see this show.

About the author

Lindsay Price