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Untitled Theater Company #61 Presents The Completes Plays of Václav Havel
THE HAVEL FESTIVAL
October 5th through December 4th
New York, NY (July 7th, 2006) In honor of Václav Havel’s 70th birthday and upcoming two month residency at Columbia University, Untitled Theater Company #61, Artistic Director Edward Einhorn, the company that brought us the Ionesco Festival and recently the NEUROfest, is proud to present all of the plays of Václav Havel in The Havel Festival. Events begin October 5th and end December 4th, while performances go from October 26th through December 2rd.
Performances will 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 and reading and events at Makor. Tickets for performances at the Ohio and Brick theaters are $18 and available through theatermania.com or at (212) 352-3101/ (866) 811-4111. For more information and complete schedules of all events please visit untitledtheater.com.
For the first time ever the complete works of Václav Havel will be presented in a festival that includes One world premiere, Five English language premieres and Five additional new translations. All told there will be 18 productions to complete the collection.
Translated by Jan Novák, 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 Sims 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 Memo…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 (under the title The Memo) in 1969 for its production at the Public Theater.
A NEW TRANSLATION by Carol Rocamora and Tomas Rychetsky, directed by Issac Rathbone and Jennifer Rathbone, produced by Oracle Theater at The Brick 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, based on a literal translation by Marie Winn, 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. At Makor.
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 Novák, 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.
Untitled Theater Company #61 is the theater company to watch when you're looking for unique festivals. Earlier this year they produced NEUROfest, a festival of over 20 plays, seminars and readings about neurological conditions. They produced the Ionesco Festival in 2001, during which they managed to mount every single Eugene Ionesco play. Last year they were met with equal acclaim for their 24/7 Festival where plays were written, rehearsed and performed in a day, every day for a week. Other works, all directed by Edward Einhorn are Fairy Tales of the Absurd, Lysistrata, Rhinoceros, The Dance, Sweeney Agonistes, The Bald Soprano, Eddie Goes to Poetry City, My Head Was a Sledgehammer and Brimstone & Treacle.
Vaclav Havel is a playwright, a political dissenter, and the former president of the Czech Republic. Deemed “subversive,” his writings (and his name) were banned by the Communists in the 1970s. He became the leader of the revolution that drove them from power, and ultimately, in 1993, president of the newly independent Czech Republic.
Václav Havel’s first published play was “The Garden Party” (1963), which was characteristic of the humanist literary movement then on the rise in Prague. His early political engagement culminated in the historic Prague Spring of 1968. Following its suppression by the invading armies of the Warsaw Pact, Havel protested the repressive effects of the communist “normalization.” In 1975, he wrote an open letter to President Husák, in which he warned of growing dissent in Czechoslovak society. In January 1977, Charter 77, a manifesto protesting the communist government and its oppressive dictates, was issued. Havel was one of the founders of this initiative. In April 1979, he became a co-founder of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted. He was imprisoned three times for “subversion,” and spent nearly five years behind bars. A passionate supporter of nonviolent resistancehis own forms of expression remain plays, letters, and essaysHavel became a leading figure in the Velvet Revolution. On December 29, 1989, as leader of the Civic Forum, he was unanimously voted president of the Federal Assembly. In the free elections of 1990, he was again voted in. With the formation of Czech Republic, he ran for president, and on January 26, 1993, he won. He left office after his second term ended on February 2, 2003.