321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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Havel Conversations

Rehearsal For Truth Theater Festival / preview screening 27 September, 2017 - 01 October, 2017 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

[Bohemian National Hall]


A continuous preview screening of interviews with US politicians, activists, and artists at BNH Cinema. Part of Rehearsal for Truth, a unique festival presenting the best in Central European theater, organized under the auspices of Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, and Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic.


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. The 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.


Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd St, 1st Floor Cinema
New York, NY 10021


Daily screening from 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM. Free and open to the public.


Rehearsal for Truth is organized by Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and BBLA, in partnership with Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak performing arts institutions and cultural institutes to highlight Havel’s legacy as a playwright through live performances, panel discussions, exhibitions and an award ceremony. It seeks to establish exchanges between U.S. and Central European theater professionals. The festival reflects not only Havel’s contribution to 20th 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


The organizers 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 Theatre Institutes in each country and the Polish Cultural Institute. 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.

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General