Photograph: © Vladyslav Troitskyi
Marking what would be Vaclav Havel’s 80th birthday, this international theatre festival celebrates the Czech Republic’s most outstanding figure both for his political impact as well as for his dramatic legacy. In this spirit, the festival also provides a stage for plays from countries that have an overlapping historical pattern with the Czech Republic, yet haven’t overcome their struggles: Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
In 2016, Václav Havel would have reached the age of 80. This anniversary should be commemorated by Czech society as a whole, and theatre-makers should approach this task particularly seriously. Václav Havel’s journey to the presidential palace and to the position of a globally acclaimed statesman started in theatre. And it does not seem to have been by pure chance.
Modern Czech history has been closely and essentially linked with theatre. Its beginnings saw the national revival and its theatre protagonists, the Thám brothers, while the Czech national anthem has its origin in a theatre play. The National Theatre was not just proof of national emancipation but also expressed the Czechs’ desire to attain a greater political autonomy, with the most recent chapter being the open auditoriums of theatres serving as forums for social discussion at the end of the revolutionary year of 1989. Hence, it would seem logical that the first Czech (Czechoslovak) president following decades of submission would be a playwright.
In the era during which freedom in the Czech Republic was curtailed and any distinct manifestation of opposition to the regime meant persecution, in some cases including imprisonment, the attention paid to Cezchs by the intellectuals, artists and politicians from happier and more liberal countries was a welcome and vital encouragement for the section of Czech society that did not want, and indeed refused, to put up with the abnormal status of public matters. They therefore felt it natural to keep in mind this debt, or obligation, by focusing on the eastern part of Europe when selecting the theatre companies and artists who would appear as guests at the festival. From countries that possess similar historical experience to the Czechs, yet whose current political situation gives rise to apprehension and a need to express solidarity.
Accordingly, in addition to Czech productions of Václav Havel’s plays, the festival programme includes creations of theatres and artists from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
Prague Crossroads — To Havel With Love
At the National Theatre Prague, New Stage
4 – 9 October 2016
Dreams Of A Lost Road • A production by DAKH, Kiev
Directed by Vlad Troitsky
Time of Women • A production by the Belarus Free Theatre, Minsk, London
Directed by Nikolai Khalezin
Medea • A production by the Teatro di Capua, Saint Petersburg
Directed by Giovanni di Capua
Productions of plays by Václav Havel (or plays about Václav Havel):
Velvet Havel • A production by the Divadlo na zábradli
Protest, Rest • By Václav Havel and M. Pokorný
A production by the Švandovo divadlo
The Mouse Paradise Experiment • A production by the Národini Divadlo/National Theatre of Prague
Directed by J. Havelka
Audience • By Václav Havel
A production by the Divado Petra Bezruče
Antiwords • A production by the Spitfire Company
Václav Habel’s Hunt For A Pig • A production by the Divadlo Husa na provázku
Tomorrow We’ll Start It Up • By Václav Havel
A production by Divadlo na provázku and HaDivadlo
Natalia Vorozhbyt — Donbass • a ‘community’ theatre project tackling authentic stories of refugees from the war-ravaged eastern part of Ukraine
Yuri Khashchevatski • piece about Alexander Lukashenko’s political career
Svetlana Alexeyevich • reading of “Second-Hand Time: The Demise of the Red Wo(Man)” followed by a discussion
Stay tuned for articles on this event in our online magazine written by the
Young Journalists on Performing Arts | conflict-zones.reviews
An event by National Theatre of Prague
In collaboration with the Union des Théâtres de l’Europe, the Vize 97 Foundation, the Václav Havel Library, Amnesty International, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Prague City Council.
In the context of the CONFLICT ZONES network-programme.
With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.