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In honor of Vaclav Havel's 70th birthday and upcoming two month residency at Columbia University, Untitled Theater Company #61 presents all of the plays of Vaclav Havel in Havel Fest. Performances take place almost exclusively at The Brick in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (575 Metropolitan Avenue - L Train to Lorimer or G to Metropolitan) and The Ohio Theater in SOHO (66 Wooster Street between Spring and Grand), with a special engagement of The Beggar's Opera at Columbia's Miller Theatre.
For the first time ever the complete works of Vaclav Havel are presented in a festival that includes one world premiere, Four English language premieres and five additional Nnw translations.
Vaclav Havel's 70th birthday party! A fundraiser for the Havel Fetsival
Thursday, October 5, 7 - 10pm
Czech food, Czech beer, a silent auction, live music by Russ Kaplan, and play readings! PLUS: The Mendoza Line performs their new album, with compositions by William Niederkorn, based on Havel's writings.
At the newly restored Bohemian National Hall, 321 E 73rd St, 3rd floor
Suggested Donation $20
Click Here to purchase tickets.
Click on show titles for further information and to purchase tickets.
Translated by Jan Novak, Directed by Edward Einhorn, Produced by Untitled Theater #61
At the Ohio Theater:
The first of the Vanek plays, the character closest to Havel himself, it tells of a dissident writer who is forced to work in a brewery, so that he can contribute to society rather than be an intellectual bourgeois burden.
The Beggar's Opera
Translated by Paul Wilson, Directed by Amy Trompetter and Sergei Zemtsov, Produced by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University and the Barnard College Theatre Department. At Columbia University's Miller Theater. Performances: December 1 and 2.
Based on the classic, and so named to avoid the censors, the world is ruled by an oppressive, powerful bureaucracy, which by its very nature takes away its citizens' humanity.
Butterfly on the Antenna
The English Language Premiere, Translated by Carol Rocamora and Tomas Rychetsky, Directed by Henry Akona, Produced by WalkingShadow At the Ohio Theater:
Originally a teleplay that never aired because Havel's work had been banned, it's about intellectuals who sit and talk about a play about intellectuals who sit and talk while in the other room, a flood is beginning.
The English Language Premiere, Translated by Carol Rocamora and Tomas Rychetsky, Directed by Kay Matschullat. At the Ohio Theater and various living rooms throughout the city:
In a fictional country, a dictator has been overthrown for democracy, but the new government is concerned it could handle his return if it so happens, so they form a fake conspiracy to overthrow the government, hoping that a stronger military, more censorship, and the torture of a political prisoner will help preserve their democratic ideals.
An Evening With the Family
The English Language Premiere, Translated by Carol Rocamora and Tomas Rychetsky directed by Glory Bowen, produced by FHB Productions at the Ohio Theater:
Havel's first solo effort at playwriting, it demonstrates the banalities of life in a typical Czech family, despite the government's attempts to obliterate the bourgeois lifestyle.
Translated by Paul Wilson, Directed by Jeffrey A. Lewonczyk. Produced by Piper McKenzie Productions. At the Brick Theater:
Originally a radio drama, this play tells of a writer who receives a knock on the door from a mysterious but oddly sinister man who wants to show him a nuclear hair polishing kit.
The Increased Difficulty of Concentration
A new translation by Stepan Simek, Directed by Yolanda Hawkins, Produced by True Comedy Theater. At the Ohio Theater:
A troubled social scientist and writer has a life that's fragmenting around him. His life goes round and round, repeating itself until he barely knows where he is or who is his current lover, as he struggles inside a metaphysical French farce.
Translated by Tom Stoppard. Directed by Eva Burgess, Produced by the Tyna Collective. At the Ohio Theater:
A dissident writer sits at home, terrified that the next knock on the door will be the police, come to take him to jail for his political writings. Paralyzed with fear, he is visited by friends, lovers, and well-wishers, each of whom torture him in their own way.
A New Translation by Paul Wilson Directed by Edward Einhorn, Produced by Untitled Theater Company #61 At the Ohio Theater:
At a large bureaucracy, a mysterious new official language has infected all office communications. The new language is completely logical and almost completely incomprehensible. The key to the whole affair lies in a memorandum…written in the new language that no one seems able to read. This play helped bring Havel to the attention of the American public, winning an OBIE in 1969 for its production at the Public.
A New Translation by Carol Rocamora and Tomas Rychetsky, Directed by Issac Rathbone and Jennifer Rathbone, Produced by Oracle Theater:
A short little piece about a silent man, just arrived in prison, and his very verbal cell mates, who are eager to tell him the new rules.
The World Premiere, Translated by Carol Rocamora and Tomas Rychetsky, Directed, designed and performed by Tanya Khordoc and Barry Weil Produced by Evolve Company at the Ohio Theater:
A cast of absurd puppets perform this one-act satire about a dread disease that is turning people into cars.
The English Language Premiere, Translated by Jitka Martin, Directed by Michael Gardner, Produced by The Brick Theater. At the Brick Theater:
Set in a Checkhovian countryside, the residents of a hotel sit and leisurely talk about almost nothing. One is having an affair, the other is desperately in love, and the people who run the hotel appear every once in a while and issue senseless edicts. The characters go round and round, repeating themselves in different ways as their identity slowly gets lost.
The Garden Party
A New Translation By Jan Novák, Directed by Andrea Boccanfuso, Produced by Oracle Theater. At the Brick Theater:
Hugo is a young man who does nothing but play chess with himself. Sent by his father to an office garden party, he joins the Liquidation Office. Soon Hugo is playing chess with himself again, but on a governmental level. This was Havel's first full length play in 1963.
Translation by Jan Novák. Directed by Robert Lyons, Produced by Soho Think Tank At the Ohio Theater:
The final Vanek play. Another writer named Stanek appeals to Vanek to help start a petition protesting the arrest of Stanek's daughter's fiancé. But when Stanek discovers the petition has already been started, he has to decide whether to sign it himself.
Translated by James Saunders, Directed by Grant Neale, Produced by Nomad Theatrical Company. At the Ohio Theater:
The government has declared that a beautiful old castle should be redeveloped to be something more socially constructive. Protestors and petitioners are jailed and the architects carry hoping that there are people left who are idealistic enough to care.
Translated by Marie Winn, Directed by Ian W. Hill, Produced by GeminiCollisionWorks At the Brick Theater:
Dr. Foustka, a respected scientist, tries to contact the devil, despite strict government regulations to the contrary. He is contacted by Fistula, who claims to be able to fulfill Faustka's every desire.
Presented as a staged reading, Translated by Barbara Day, Directed by Marcy Arlin:
Havel's only history play, it recounts the events of 1918 Czechoslovakia, when, after 300 years under the Habsburg Empire, the state finally broke free and established its own democratic republic. In retelling that story, Havel was hoping to (and did) foreshadow a more modern Czechoslovakian revolution.
Translated by Jan Novak, Directed by Randy White At the Ohio Theater:
Another Vanek play. In this one the writer is invited to the home of married friends who desperately want to show him how incredibly happy and fulfilled they both are.
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