Puppets To Life.
In Havel the audience is treated to an edgy, hip performance about a man who would go from prisoner to president of the Chech Republic. More resonant today then when I first saw the show on the upper East Side right after theaters opened from the pandemic, this Havel has more meaning because of what is going on in the Chech Republic today.
From 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, Havel served as president and then became president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. As a statesman, author, poet, playwright and dissident, Havel would go on to a great legacy as president. Acheiving many awards like the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he was able to steer his country out of communism and into a more free country with free thought and expansion economically.
In the play we see how Havel went from a writer to being banished to a brewery. In Vit Horejs's writing we are brought front and center on how the communist regime really works. Always under scrutiny, workers are constantly looking over their shoulder wondering and worrying about what could be said about them; ultimatly landing them in jail. The writing brings forth how workers go about their daily lives making little money for their hard working efforts.
The play uses puppets under a survallience camera. Horejs brilliantly uses this to show the audience just how the communists are watching. This concept by both Horejs and Theresa Linnihan (both act in the show as well) follows Ferdinand Vanek (playwright) into forced manual labor because his writing bash the communist regime. Vanek is left to negotiate an alchohlic boss who is constantly parinoid about worker uprising, what the workers think about him and if the party is pleased with him or not.
Vanek brilliantly shows the beuracracy behing the communist regime. People turn on each other becasuse they are paranoid about what can happen to them for no reason. Today, this play resonates even more for not just communist countries, but even here in America. As it turns out, we too are being watched... whether through social media, communist Tik Toc, or our own government. People who speak out against Joe Biden are now watched, recorded and often arrested for simply having a different opinion than Biden and his dictatorial regime. People in an opposing party are now villified and find themselves cancelled, fired, looked at by the IRS.
Havel cannot resonant enough today. Under seige by Vladimir Putin, the Czech Republic is being bombarded by a ruthless communist dictator. In China too, we have a ruthless communist dictator who has tortured, killed and maimed anyone who dissagrees with the party. In a world that is now upside down, I think that seeing this well thoughtout play is timely indeed.
The main crux of Havel is that governments are corrupt. Like Lord Acton said: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutley. The writing deftly shows how people are compromised daily; rather than being happy or free, they must buckle under a regime to go along to get along. Instead of living a fulfilled life, they lead a miserable one.
www.wsj.com, www.nytimes.com,Russia, China, Chinese Balloons, Alaska, Canada, Havel, Marrionettes, Ellen Stewart Theatre, Pulitzer Prize, Czech Republic, Vladamir Putin, The United Nations, www.metropolitan Magazine.com, www.broadwayworld.com.
About the Creator
Robert M Massimi.
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows
You have potential. Keep practicing and don’t give up!
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