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Nov 10, 2014 2:21PM
Montblanc & Salzburg Festival Young Directors ProjectUniversität Mozarteum Salzburg • YDP II • 36566 Tage

Co-production with the Salzburg Mozarteum University,

Department of Acting, Direction, Stage Design World premiere


August 1914. The outbreak of war is celebrated enthusiastically. To many it appears as a cleansing shower heralding a new age. This is the view of the young Maximilian Roth who volunteers for military service. He is in his second year studying trombone at the Mozarteum. Twentytwo years old. The same age as many current Mozarteum students. Maximilian is injured, loses a leg and returns to Salzburg in November 1916 in more sober mood. How will he deal with this experience? What course will the rest of his life take?

August 1914 fundamentally changes the life of not only Maximilian Roth. For an entire generation the beginning of the war marks a formative point in their biography. Practically nothing will remain as it was before. This is true not only of the soldiers. Noone could escape from ‘the formative catastrophe of the 20th century’.

8th August 2014, the day of the premiere, is 36,566 days after shots were fired at Sarajevo. To mark this occasion a group of young actors, directors and designers who are current Mozarteum students, working here under the mentorship of Hans-Werner Kroesinger, invite us to join them on an expedition into the past. In a performance installation taking place in a number of spaces including the former Franz Josef Barracks and the Theater im KunstQuartier, they present a panorama of the generation of men and women from Salzburg who were the age they are now in 1914. They could have been their great-grandparents.

The evening looks beyond well-established historical facts to offer insights into the hopes, wishes, fears and disappointments of a whole series of less familiar historical figures; a young brewer, the heir to a sweet shop, music students, an aspiring priest and many others. The young artists will investigate diverse aspects of the topic both individually and in groups over a period of 15 months, realising a range of projects from monologues to installations to acoustic experiences. This is an attempt to reconstruct a space for emotional experience from a distant time, one which with which we hardly have contact any more.

Hans-Werner Kroesinger is one of Germany’s leading documentary theatremakers. With works such as Kindertransporte, Rwanda Revisited, Blackwater, Darfur – Mission Incomplete and Failed States – Somalia, he has been invited to numerous international festivals including Impulse and Politik im Freien Theater. He is currently working with Regine Dura on Battlefield Memory, a project concerning the events of 1914 in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Istanbul commissioned by the Goethe Institut.

Christoph Lepschy

Translated by David Tushingham

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