The Play's the Thing: Václav Havel, Art and Politics
Václav Havel (1936–2011), the dissident and imprisoned dramatist who went on to become a world-renowned statesman as first president of the Czech Republic, changed the course of twentieth-century history by mixing theater with politics and peacefully ending communism in his country. His plays, filled with metaphor and pointed innuendo, exposed the failings of the system, and Havel became a hero in an epic struggle. This program is based on the places and people that Havel knew, from the influential Theatre on the Balustrade, where his theatrical career began, to his friendships with filmmakers of the Czech New Wave, and to his political ascendancy in Prague. Special thanks to the National Film Archive Prague, Václav Havel Library, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2013, and Czech Television. Several related screenings take place at the West End Cinema, Washington.