321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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Spring Weekend: Vanek Variations

stage readings (Czech Republic), talkbacks, afterparty 10 May, 2019 - 7:00 PM

[Bohemian National Hall]


Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival’s Spring Weekend presents three stage readings - Audience, The Meeting, and Infiltration – centered on Ferdinand Vanek, a classic character in Vaclav Havel’s plays and his fictional alter ego, who, like the late playwright-turned-statesman Havel, worked in a brewery before being jailed as a political dissident. The performances are followed by talkbacks and afterparty.



Audience by Vaclav Haveltranslated by Jan Novak

The Meeting by Edward Einhorn

Infiltration by Petr Erbes, Winner of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation's contest on the theme of Ferdinand Vanek today, translated by Paul Wilson

Directed by Edward Einhorn


In Audience, the first of the Vaclav Havel’s “Vanek plays,” Ferdinand Vanek, a dissident writer, is forced to work in a brewery, so that he can contribute to society rather than be an intellectual bourgeois burden. The brewmaster calls him in for a friendly talk, or possibly an interrogation. It is clear that the brewmaster desperately wants something. It is not at all clear what that something is. In The Meeting, Ferdinand Vanek's niece, Frida Vanek, a Czech-American, asks for a meeting with Vanek's old acquaintance Stanek, now planning to run for office in the Czech Republic. She brings some damaging information. Should she use it? In Infiltration, the character Vanek is a young man working at a puzzle factory, in a play set in the current Czech Republic. He wants to help workers there, but finds himself a misfit.



Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021


Free and open to the public. Space is limited, on first come, first served basis. RSVP online at Eventbrite.com.


Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) was a playwright, essayist, political dissident, and the former president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. He became well-known as a dramatist in the 1960s when his plays The Garden Party and The Memorandum were seen on world theatre stages. In the 1970s, he was one of the authors of Charter 77 – a manifesto calling for the Czechoslovak government to adhere to the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Agreement. Around this time, Havel released The Power of the Powerless, a powerful political essay that dissects the nature of totalitarian rule and the resistance that emerges within it. In 1989, he became the leader of the two-month long Velvet Revolution, which culminated in his ascension to the Presidency of the re-established democratic Czechoslovakia. Only a few months earlier, he had been released after being held by the communist regime for his activities in defense of human rights.


Edward Einhorn is a playwright, director, translator, librettist, and novelist. He is the Artistic Director of Untitled Theater Company #61. Some of his notable Czech projects include The Velvet Oratorio, an opera oratorio retelling the events of the Velvet Revolution, Cabaret in Activity and Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for the Pig. He has just finished directing the film version of Karel Svenk’s The Last Cyclist, originally written in Terezin, due to be released this year.Einhorn’s original plays include Rudolf II and Golem Stories. Einhorn has directed or had plays produced at The New Ohio, The Brick Theatre, Columbia University, Lincoln Center, Bohemian National Hall, Pangea Cabaret, The Center for Jewish History, The Czech Embassy in Washington D.C., York Theatre, Goodnough College (in London) and Chashama Theatre. In 2006, he curated the Vaclav Havel Festival, a festival of all of Havel’s work, which Havel himself attended. The New York Times has called Einhorn’s work "exquisitely ingenious", “dramatically shrewd,” and "almost unbearably funny"; Time Out has called it "challenging, thought-provoking," “mesmerizing,” and “startlingly intense”; and The Village Voice has called it “hilarious, provocative,” and "Inspired absurdist comedy.". He has received a Sloan Grant, SEED Magazine’s Revolutionary Mind Award, The NY Innovative Theater Award for Best Performance Art Production of the Year, NYTheater.com’s Person of the Year Award and placement in their Indie Theater Hall of Fame, and Critic’s Picks in Time Out, The Village Voice, and The New York Times.


Petr Erbes (b.1991, Policka, Czech Republic) has co-authored various theatre productions including DISK, Jatka78, Dejvicke divadlo, and Narodni divadlo Brno. He is an active member of 8people. He studied Multimedia Technology at CTU and Alternative Dramaturgy and Puppet Theatre at the Theatre faculty of The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU). He is interested in active role of audience in theatre; he explores game structures and narratives. 


Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival’s Spring Weekend is a showcase of emerging Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak playwrights whose work reflects on current social and political issues. The plays have been translated into English and feature local New York performers and directors who will have the opportunity to try out these works onstage as part of the European Month of Culture. The program includes a full Romanian production as well.


Spring Weekend is organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA), in collaboration with Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York, Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in New York, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and Untitled Theater Company #61. The cultural institutions of these five countries collaborate with VHLF to select the plays as well as arrange trips for some of the chosen playwrights to New York City to participate in the rehearsals, stage reading performances, and discussions with the audience after the shows.


The program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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