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REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel

REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel

Under the auspices of Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, and Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Rehearsal for Truth is a unique festival presenting the best in Central European theater.

2017 marks the inaugural year of "Rehearsal for Truth" - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel.

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association (BBLA) will partner with Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak performing arts institutions to highlight Havel's legacy as a playwright through live performances, panel discussions, exhibitions and an award ceremony. It will also seek to establish exchanges between U.S. and Central European theater professionals. The festival will reflect not only Havel's contribution to twentieth-Century Theater but also his belief in the potential of Central European cultural traditions to enrich human existence in the modern age.

"What matters is not whether a play is light-hearted or serious, but--be it comedic or otherwise--whether it speaks to people about their problems, how it speaks to them, what impact it has on them... We wish only to put on plays that meet certain standards of urgency, that are intellectually penetrating, complex, challenging, and powerful."

Vaclav Havel, The Kind of Theater We Want to Do, from a letter to Alfred Radok, August 4, 1963

We have tapped into the existing Central European theater network to bring the region's distinctive contemporary cultural perspective to New York stages. The selection of the four productions was guided by recommendations from Theater Institutes in each country.

Over 25 partners have joined forces with the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and BBLA to launch this festival in 2017. The festival was also made possible by grants from The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and funded in part by a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation.

The festival consists of four theater productions: KORESPONDENCE V+W / V+W: LETTERS (Czech Republic), OTTHON / HOME (Hungary), NÁVŠTEVA EXPERTOV/ THE EXPERTS VISITING (Slovakia), and INTRO (Poland).

There will also be two panel discussions. Theatre and the Political: Dramaturgy, Ideology, and Injustice moderated by Hana Worthen, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University. The second panel discussion is No Strings Attached? Pros and Cons of Private and Government Support for the Arts moderated by Frank Hentschker, Executive Director at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center.

The presentation of the Disturbing the Peace - Award for a Courageous Writer at Risk by Ian Buruma will take place during the festival as well as the launch of Havel Conversations (oral histories). All of the events are free to the public.

With its tradition of presenting Czech and Slovak culture for more than one hundred years, Bohemian National Hall is the perfect place to establish this new and energizing annual event.


FESTIVAL PROGRAM:

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, Bohemian National Hall

5 pm: Panel Discussion: Theatre and the Political: Dramaturgy, Ideology, and Injustice

Moderated by:

Hana Worthen, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University

Panelists:

Martina Pecková ?erná, Head of International Cooperation Department, Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague

Zuzana Uli?ianska, Public Relations Department, Theatre Institute in Bratislava, playwright, journalist

Thomas Kriegsmann, President, ArKtype, New York

Venue: Multifunctional Space (3rd Floor), Bohemian National Hall

To Book FREE Tickets: http://bit.ly/RFTPanel

6:30 pm: Panel Discussion: No Strings Attached? Pros and Cons of Private and Government Support for the Arts

Moderated by:

Frank Hentschker, Executive Director at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center

Panelists:

Attila Szabó, Deputy Director, Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute of the Pet?fi Literary Museum

Agata Adamiecka-Sitek, Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, writer, researcher

Tea Alagi?, Head of the MFA Directing Department at The New School for Drama

Venue: Multifunctional Space (3rd Floor), Bohemian National Hall

To Book FREE Tickets: http://bit.ly/RFTPanel2

8 pm: Budapest, Hungary

dollardaddy's Presents:

OTTHON/HOME

Directed by Tamás Ördög

Krisztina Urbanovits as Elise
Máté Dezs? Georgita as Fredrik
Em?ke Kiss-Végh as Gerda
Tamás Ördög as Axel

The show will be performed in Hungarian with English subtitles

Please note the production contains partial nudity.

Talk back after the show introduced by Attila Szabó, Deputy Director, Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute

Venue: BNH Ballroom

Afterparty reception at BNH Ballroom Bar

To Book FREE Tickets: http://bit.ly/OTTHONHOME

The second show of the trilogy loosely based on a Strindberg play (The Pelican) presented by a small group of young theatre makers usually performing in a small, very sterile environment like a rehearsal room or ballet room. A very intimate and intensive experience, very much based on the art of the actor, of a rarely produced drama about familial politics and economic inequality that resonates in the same way as when the play was first staged in 1907.

Information about the Family Trilogy: http://dollardaddys.tumblr.com/familytrilogy

Trailer: https://youtu.be/D9fAyU6Oy0A

REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel
Emöke Kiss-Végh as Gerda and Tamás Ördög as Axel.
Photo by Csenge Ligetvári.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

6:30 pm: Patron Reception for VIP guests and artists, Bohemian Spirit Restaurant

8 pm: Disturbing the Peace - Award for a Courageous Writer at Risk presented by Ian Buruma

Venue: BNH Ballroom

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation's Disturbing the Peace Award recognizes writers who share Havel's passionate commitment to human rights and have suffered unjust persecution for their beliefs. The award is given each year to a writer of a distinguished work of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, drama, or poetry, who is courageous in dissent and has been punished for challenging an oppressive regime. The award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, supports talented individuals who embody Havel's legacy while drawing attention to the many writers worldwide who bravely fight human rights violations.

The shortlisted nominees for 2017 include:

- Asli Erdogan (Turkey), a prize-winning writer, human rights activist, columnist for Ozgur Gundem, a pro-Kurdish newspaper, and former columnist for the newspaper Radikal.

- Elif Shafak (Turkey), an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. She is an advocate of women's rights, minority rights, and freedom of expression.

- Burhan Sonmez (Turkey), originally a lawyer in Istanbul, founder of the social-activist culture organization TAKSAV (Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Art).

- Liu Xia (China), a poet, activist, photographer, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

- Serhiy Zhadan (Ukraine), an internationally known writer, with 12 books of poetry and 7 novels, and winner of more than a dozen literary awards. He has been engaged in politics since Orange Revolution.

8:15 pm: Prague, Czech Republic

Theatre on the Balustrade presents:

KORESPONDENCE V+W / V+W: LETTERS

Directed by: Jan Mikulášek

Václav Vašák as Ji?í Voskovec

Ji?í Vyorálek as Jan Werich

Anežka Kubátová as Zdeni?ka

Talk back after the show introduced by Petr Št?dro?, Theater Director, and Dora Viceníková, Artistic Director

The show will be performed in Czech with English subtitles

Venue: BNH Ballroom

Afterparty reception at BNH Ballroom Bar

To Book FREE Tickets: http://bit.ly/VWLETTERS

The text of this performance is drawn from the correspondence of Voskovec and Werich, the legendary founders of the Liberated Theatre in Prague, who had to flee fascist Europe and then separated in 1948 after the communist government got into power in Czechoslovakia. Their correspondence is a strong statement of life by two extraordinarily original and artistically mature personalities as they seek to understand a bipolar world full of iron curtains and cold wars.

These letters are priceless evidence of the intellectual and spiritual world of V+W and they are also the top literary work in Ji?í Voskovec's postwar period. "The form of abbreviation, short connections, theatrical allusions, plus the private codes and brilliant stylization, unbelievable addressing and signing" - these are the apt words the critics used to describe the correspondence.

The production was selected as the "Success of the Month" by the editors of Divadelní noviny.

Info about the show in English: www.nazabradli.cz/en/repertoire/current/554-v-w-the-letters-korespondence-v-w

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbw3I5LlkvM

REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel
Ji?í Vyorálek, Anežka Kubátová, Václav Vašák. Photo by KIVA

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

8 pm: Bratislava, Slovakia

Studio 12 presents:

NÁVŠTEVA EXPERTOV/ THE EXPERTS VISITING

Text by: Egon Bondy

Directed by: Ingrid Timková

Robert Roth as Colonel

Daniel Fischer as Lieutenant

Lukáš Pel? and Marta Ma?ová as Experts

Talk back after the show introduced by Zuzana Uli?ianska, Theatre Institute in Bratislava

The show will be performed in Slovak with English subtitles

Venue: BNH Ballroom

Afterparty reception at BNH Ballroom Bar

Please note the show contains explicit language.

To Book FREE Tickets: http://bit.ly/EXPERTSVISTING

The play written by one of the most outstanding Czechoslovak underground personalities, Egon Bondy, is based on his personal experience from the environment of the secret services. The creators concentrate on suggestive acting bringing the audience into physical contact with a harsh reality. They are asking questions about the borderlines of human "normality", about the desire to manipulate human freedom and about the limitations that we are willing to surpass for a certain price.

REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel
Marta Matová, Daniel Fischer, Lukás Pelc and Robert Roth.
Photo by Robert Tappert.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1

7 pm: Gda?sk, Poland

The Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre presents:

INTRO

Choreography and performance by: Katarzyna Chmielewska, Katarzyna Ustowska, Leszek Bzdyl, and Piotr Stanek

The show will be performed in Polish with English subtitles

Talk back after the show introduced by Anna Galas-Kosil, Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute

Venue: BNH Ballroom

Afterparty reception at BNH Ballroom Bar

To Book FREE Tickets: http://bit.ly/INTRODadaTheater

"INTRO" by Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre, Anno Domini 2015, draws inspiration, recognition and nervous melancholy from the undying spirit of the Dada movement, which - as its Apostles used to say - was, is and will be. 99 years after the emanation of Dada in Zurich (AD 1916), accompanied by the scent of blood from the trenches of Verdun, national exultation, and the revelations of Fatima - Azazel or whatever he happens to be called by the Talmudists or the Islamists - debuted in Poland. Under the wings of Azazel, Poland has become a thesis, synthesis and antithesis at the same time. Under the authority of Azazel, there's a growing conviction in a Pole that ONE means more than MANY. Dada Theatre, inspired by the spirit of dada, is going to rip the veil off it, and reveal the deadly face of the Angel of Death; it's going to laugh in the face of the Angel of Death. Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre in the play "INTRO", both mockingly and desperately, shouts out: Dada is Polska!!! The shouting and dance of Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre is accompanied by a musical band Nagrobki /Gravestones/.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeLBkCrwVYY

REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH - a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel
Katarzyna Chmielewska as Zorana Vukmirovic. Photo by Dominik Werner.

27 SEPTEMBER -OCTOBER 1 DAILY 10 AM -10 PM

HAVEL CONVERSATIONS

The Havel Conversations project is an oral history initiative in which artists, activists and politicians reflect upon Vaclav Havel's legacy, and themes close to the late Czech president such as cultural diplomacy and human rights. This collection of interviews with American politicians (such as Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright), and artists (such as Suzanne Vega) stresses the work that Havel undertook to foster Czechoslovak-American, and then later, Czech-American relations. These semi-structured interviews with those who knew Havel personally complement written sources which consider his political decisions from the top down; taken together, the interviews make the case for understanding policymaking as a series of conversations, instead of a paper-trail of memos. The Havel Conversations collection consists of video interviews and PDF transcripts, housed in full at Florida International University Libraries and partially available online at http://www.vhlf.org/havel-in-the-world/havel-conversations/.

Venue: BNH CINEMA

About Vaclav Havel Library Foundation

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in the United States to honor, preserve, and build upon the legacy of playwright, dissident, and former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel.

We complement Vaclav Havel Library in Prague by organizing access to unique materials documenting Havel's accomplishments and activities in North America. We create an effective, cutting-edge interactive platform and bridge to promote worldwide awareness of Havel's crucial contributions not only to the democratic transition in Central Europe, but to ongoing debates about a much larger transition of the global community from the 20th to 21st century.

Through activities relating to issues important to Havel, support of research devoted to themes connected to Havel's legacy as a playwright, and memorials recognizing Havel's influence as a Global Citizen, VHLF aims to serve as a "living library" focused on advancing the legacy of former President Havel.

The Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA)

The Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA), established in 1891, was founded as an umbrella organization representing approximately eighty Czech and Slovak cultural, educational and athletic community groups and clubs.

With contributions from the newly arrived immigrants, the Bohemian National Hall (Narodni Budova) was built four years later as a gathering place for these organizations in the Yorkville section on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The original mission of the BBLA was and continues to be to preserve the Czech and Slovak culture in New York City. The current BBLA member organizations are:

- American Fund for Czech and Slovak Leadership Studies
- Association of Free Czechoslovak Sportsmen
- Czech and Slovak Solidarity Council
- Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences in America
- Dvorak American Heritage Association
- Sokol New York

The current BBLA sister organizations are:

- Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF)
- National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library (NCSML)
- Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCSJ)

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