The Montblanc Young Directors Project took place at the Salzburg Festival for the eleventh time this year. The jury consisted of Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, president of the Salzburg Festival, Thaddaeus Ropac of Galerie Ropac, actor August Diehl, author Händl Klaus and cultural critic Peter Kümmel. The competition featured Zinzi Mhlongo and her ensemble, Tick Tock Productions, from South Africa with their premier of “Trapped”, Cornelia Rainer director of the Austrian company Theater Montagnes Russes with their premier of “Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz” and choreographer, and winner, Gisèle Vienne of France.
Winner Gisèle Vienne premiered two productions at this year’s festival. “Éternelle Idole” focuses on a young figure skater and her trainer and tension between the athlete’s vulnerability and the discipline she subjects herself to. The performances took place at the Skating Rink at the Volksgarten. Her second work, “This is how you will disappear”, was an explanation of the nature around us and within us.
The jury’s statement said Vienne’s work “does not evoke a time that we once knew, nor one that will ever exist. This director travels through her own universe, and it is very clearly a world of posterity: the dammed, the exiled, the undead of our popular culture tread their paths there.” Her productions dealt heavily with death, sex and violence and were said to hover between dream and reality.
It was the great beauty with which man struggles and ultimately disappears in Vienne’s work that led the jury to grant her the Montblanc Young Directors Award. She received with her award €10,000 (almost $12,500) and the Montblanc Max Reinhardt Pen. The entire festival was funded by international cultural brand Montblanc who provided funding for the competitors and the award money.