About The Book
Milan Kundera wrote of Václav Havel, “If there are any theatres left that base work entirely on the writer’s text, theatres that value the development of poetry in drama, then Havel’s plays will never be out of the repertoire.”
This collection, which makes the full range of Václav Havel’s work available to an English-speaking audience, will prove Kundera’s words prophetic. Although Havel is no longer the president of Czechoslovakia, he is without a doubt still the preeminent Eastern European playwright of his generation, and one of the most powerful and effective satirical voices since Anton Chekhov and Mikhail Bulgakov.
Gathered together here for the first time are seven plays that span Havel’s career from his early days at the Theater of the Balustrade through the Prague Spring, Charter 77, and the repeated imprisonments that made Havel’s name into a rallying cry and propelled him to the leadership of his country. They included The Garden Party, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, Mistake, the Vanek trilogy of Audience, Unveiling, and Protest, and the first fully corrected English version of The Memorandum—the play that won Havel the Obie for Best Foreign Play in 1968.
These supple, spirited translations (by, among others, Vera Blackwell and Jan Novack) capture the breathtaking range of Havel’s writing, from comic burlesque to the darkly ironic to the bitterly angry.
The Garden Party
The Increased Difficulty of Concentration
Unveiling (Private View)