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Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival

27 September, 2017 - 01 October, 2017

[Bohemian National Hall]


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.


The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association (BBLA) will partner with Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak performing arts institutions and cultural institutes to highlight Havel’s legacy as a playwright througth 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 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. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH THEATER FESTIVAL | PROGRAM (free and open to the public; seats are limited, on first come, first served basis; RSVP is required)



  • 5:00 - 6:30 PM: Theatre and the Political: Dramaturgy, Ideology, and Injustice  |  panel discussion

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

>> click here for more information and to RSVP


  • 6:30 - 7:30 PM: No Strings Attached? Pros and Cons of Private and Government Support for the Arts  |  panel discussion

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

>> click here for more information and to RSVP


  • 8:00 - 10:00 PM: HOME / OTTHON  |  play (Hungary) + AFTERPARTY RECEPTION

Directed by Tamas Ordog. The show will be in Hungarian with English subtitles.

>> click here for more information and to RSVP



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

>> click here for more information and to buy your tickets online at eventbrite


  • 8:00 PM: Disturbing the Peace – Award for a Courageous Writer at Risk presented by Ian Buruma

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  • 8:15 - 10:30 PM: V+W: LETTERS / KORESPONDENCE V+W  |  play (Czech Republic) + AFTERPARTY RECEPTION

Directed by Jan Mikulasek. The show will be performed in Czech with English subtitles.

>> click here for more information and to RSVP



Text by Egon Bondy. Directed by Ingrid Timkova. The show will be performed in Slovak with English subtitles.

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  • 7:00 - 9:00 PM: INTRO  |  play (Poland) + AFTERPARTY RECEPTION

Choreography and performance by: Katarzyna Chmielewska, Katarzyna Ustowska, Leszek Bzdyl and Piotr Stanek. The show will be performed in Polish with English subtitles.

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  • HAVEL CONVERSATIONS | daily 10 AM - 10 PM

Continuous preview screening of interviews with US politicians, activists, and artists at Bohemian National Hall Cinema

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Exhibition presenting the history of relations between Polish, Slovak, Hungarian and Czech nations - from the 14th century to present day.

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