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In Performance: Tomorrow, In A Year (Copenhagen, Denmark)


The world seen through the eyes of Charles Darwin forms the basis for the performance Tomorrow, in a year. Theatre production company Hotel Pro Forma’s striking visuals blend with pop-duo The Knife’s ground-breaking music to create a new species of electro-opera.

© Claudi-Thyrrestrup

An opera singer, a pop singer and an actor perform The Knife’s music and represent Darwin, time and nature on stage. Six dancers form the raw material of life. Together with the newest technology in light and sound, our image of the world as a place of incredible variation, similarity and unity is re-discovered.

About Hotel Pro Forma

© Claudi Thyrrestrup

Hotel Pro Forma displaces the notion of theatre into new territories that lie between art and non-art, theatre and non-theatre, between the physical and the metaphysical expression. Performances occupy a space between construction and sensation, consciousness and intuition, concrete and abstract. Hotel Pro Forma moves across the genres of theatre, opera, visual arts and concert. Every production is a new experiment and contains a double staging: partly of its contents and the space, and partly of the notion of theatre itself. With every production a new examination is taken up:

It is intrinsic to the concept of the performances that the architecture and the traditions of the venue become part of the performance. Space is a co-player.

Each production is the result of a close collaboration between artists from many disciplines: architecture, the visual arts, music, film, language, dance, the natural sciences and digital media
Performers are carefully selected with a view to the qualities and qualifications required by the concept and the nature of the performance.

Because space, concept, collaborators and performers vary from one production to the next, all Hotel Pro Forma’s performances are distinct and unique. As a “nomadic theatre” Hotel Pro Forma is in constant motion and always approaching reality from an other angle. Reality is staged.

Hotel Pro Forma has created performances for museums, town halls and public buildings of special architectural significance and for theatre venues in Europe, Mexico, Japan, Australia and USA.


The opera-genre provides the DNA, the framework of the performance. It calls for large scale, and it forms a space where form and expression dominate. The Swedish music group The Knife creates completely new compositions that challenge the conventional conception of opera music. The musical form is experimental and exploratory, and much of the sound heard was recorded while in the Amazon Jungle and in Iceland.

© Claudi Thyrrestrup

It is written for three singers of different backgrounds: popular music, classical opera and the performing arts. They are the narrators and the main characters in the performance. The singers tell about Darwin and they observe time and nature as Darwin.

Directed by Ralf Richardt Strøbech and Kirsten Dehlholm, the visual and conceptual universe is formed by Darwin’s thoughts, experiences and letters. The performance is divided into two parts – analogous to the development and publications of The Origin of Species.

The first part of the performance is exploratory. It concentrates on observing the underlying sequences and relationships between image, narrative, movement and music used in the performance. The second part is a synthesis of the material. A completed image and totality emerge, before the performance again mutates and passes into new forms, as happens over time with all things.

The opera presents an image of Darwin that above all reminds us that the world is a place of remarkable similarities and amazing diversity. That over time – tomorrow, in a year, or tomorrow, in a million years – change is inevitable.


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Caden Manson is a director, media artist, and teacher. He is co-founder of the media ensemble and network, blog, and publisher, He has co-created, directed, video- and set designed 18 Big Art Group productions. Manson has shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; Taught in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Montreal, NYC, and Bern; the ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Caden is a 2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, is a 2002 Pew Fellow and a 2011 MacDowell Fellow. Writing has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, and Theater der Zeit. Caden is currently an associate professor and graduate directing option coordinator of The John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

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