They honor outstanding stage productions and artists from the previous theater season. The gala, which was broadcast with a time delay by ORF III, was moderated by Nadja Bernhard and Peter Fässlacher. Michael Maertens and Saioa Alvarez Ruiz received the awards for the best acting performances, while Tomas Silent received the award for “Best Director”.
The gala took place in the stage design of the Volkstheater production “Apocalypse meow“, which is about the awarding of the theater prize “Destroy” (sic!). The life’s work award was accepted by Emmy Werner, who was previously honored by laudator Karl Markovics: “I don’t know anyone to whom this award applies so much, like on her: Emmy Werner is a life’s work! For her, life and work are inseparably linked. I don’t know a more current person than Emmy Werner.” Werner, who directed the Volkstheater for years, found it a bit strange to be back on this stage in this role: “That’s exactly where it has to be, on this stage,” said Werner, who is in gave a look back at her journey in her (also) pre-recorded acceptance speech: “Theater is and remains a means of survival. Artificial intelligence won’t be able to change that!” Referring to the current global political situation, Werner urged “mindfulness”.
In the summer, as was recently announced, he gave “Everyman” at the Salzburg Festival for a single season; his role as Friedrich Hofreiter in Arthur Schnitzler’s “The Wide Land” directed by Barbara Frey gave Michael Maertens his third role Nestroy as best actor. He contested his acceptance speech with a joke that Peter Simonischek, who died this year, had once told: During an alluded to statement about “Everyman”, Maertens acted as if the microphone had failed. The Berlin performer Saioa Alvarez Ruiz was then awarded best actress for her role in Holzinger’s “Ophelia’s Got Talent”. “She impresses with her fascinating stage presence, ambiguous wit and bravado – and absolutely does not do what people with disabilities are used to in the theater,” said the jury’s statement. “I would like to see more of these strong, self-determined roles. I hope this is just the beginning!” said Alvarez Ruiz in the direction of director Holzinger.
With “Faarm Animaal” based on George Orwell, the Schauspielhaus Wien director ensured a great success at the beginning of his last season, which he now has one for Nestroy Prize for Best Director received. The piece creation tells – far from Orwell’s fable – of a society that wants to get rid of old habits, and what’s more: that wants to overcome being human in order to transform itself into animals. “The production walks a tragicomic line between slapstick and sadness and shows people desperately trying to unlearn things and how, despite their best efforts, they cannot get out of their own skin,” said the jury of seven local critics chaired by Alexandra Althoff.
How does alleged tax evasion become a captivating evening of theater? This is what director Jossi Wieler shows, according to the jury’s justification for the “Best German-language production” in an impressive way with the premiere of Elfriede Jelinek’s meandering, very personal monologue “Angabe der Person” at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. In his acceptance speech, Wieler was pleased about the “incredibly free work” that had been made possible in this production.
The price for the best federal state performance went to Styria: There was great joy among Claudia Bossard, who was praised for her dazzling new interpretation of “Bunbury. Being serious is everything!” by Oscar Wilde at the Schauspielhaus Graz, making it the third time in a row that the theater has received the award after 2021 and 2022. The director thanked her entire team and the former Graz director Iris Laufenberg, who moved to the Deutsches Theater Berlin with the current season and who, among others, was on stage together with Frieder Langenberger, who was nominated for “Best Actor”, to accept the award .
The through ORF III online election The audience award went to Nick Romeo Reimann, who was last seen at the Volkstheater in Ingeborg Bachmann’s “Malina” in the stage version by Claudia Bauer. Reimann used his acceptance speech for a political statement: “At a time when the right and right-wing extremists are sometimes the second strongest force and a right-wing candidate for chancellor thanks all ‘real women’ for having their men’s backs and a Jewish cemetery in Vienna is burning – during this time we all have a stage in the heart of the city where we can let complexity, diversity and empathy speak,” said Reimann.
There was an innovation in the category “Best young talent”, which was previously awarded separately in the male/female categories: In the new category “Best Young Author, Stage, Costume, Music” the non-binary author Selma Kay Matter, born in Zurich in 1998, was awarded for her climate play “Grelle Tage”, which premiered at the Schauspielhaus Wien directed by Charlotte Lorenz, was honored. “I try to write the plays that I miss in the theater,” says the queer author.
In the also new category “Best Young Actor“The actor Tommy Filehner-Wachtler, born in Brixen in 1997, was honored by the jury for his remarkable performance as the flirtatious Effi Briest, far superior to her male environment, in “Effi Briest” by Moritz Franz Beichl based on the novel by Theodor Fontane (Bronski & Grünberg Theater ) was honored. In his speech, the actor praised the good working atmosphere in the production and called for this to be made the standard.
As already known in advance, Thomas Perle was chosen for the piece “karpatenflecken” which premiered in the Burgtheater vestibule Author Prize excellent. The winning play of the Retzhofer Drama Prize 2019 is at first glance a family story, but at the same time a sophisticated reflection on Europe. “His visionary view is tantamount to a warning,” said the eulogy. “My aim is to write against nationalism. The prize is an opportunity to continue this work,” said the author happily. He was also the first to react to the current crisis in the Middle East: “Words are lacking and hope is disappearing a bit. We all bear responsibility for events, for history. I don’t want to lose hope.”
The multi-nominated production “Ophelia’s Got Talent” by Florentina Holzinger, which was seen as a co-production with the Tanzquartier Wien at the Volkstheater Vienna, received the award stage designer Nikola Knežević a first award. The stage impressed, among other things, with gigantic water basins and a helicopter that fell from the sky.
In the category of the best Off-production Die Rabtaldirndln and Nadja Brachvogel prevailed with their co-production “Ahnfrauen” shown at the Vienna Kosmos Theater. To celebrate the birth of the collective, Barbara Carli, Rosa Degen-Faschinger, Bea Dermond and Gudrun Maier made a piece about their mothers. “We look for topics where we believe we need to think about them as a society. And these topics are becoming more and more common,” said the winners in their acceptance speech.
The special price went to a performative installation in the WUK with “Homesickness”. In the extraordinary work, the “Darum” masterminds Victoria Halper and Kai Krösche deal with the crimes that those under protection had to endure in the country’s church and municipal homes from the 1950s to the 1980s. The two also gave the victims a voice in their emotional acceptance speech.
About the price for the best supporting role Finally, was a happy Dorothee Hartinger, who received an award for her role as the housekeeper Rosa in Anita Vulesica’s production of “The Rape of the Sabine Women” by Franz and Paul von Schönthan in the Academy Theater. The actress made a plea for “subsidized theater”: “As long as there is theater, there is hope!”
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