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Sep 24, 2019 7:00 PM - Oct 7, 2019 10:00 PM

Festival: Rehearsal for Truth

The 2019 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival explores the disappearance of borders between truth and lies. The festival consists of five international performances—three full plays, one dance performance and a behind-the-scene presentation—along with four special events. In total, the activities offer a notable occasion for adventure of the mind and conduits for shared encounters.

The festival examines different nuances of truth through its third edition, “The Travesty of Truth.” Conceived under the direction of Pavla Niklová, the 2019 Rehearsal for Truth program encourages participants to enter a dialogue on pressing matters that pervade our post-truth era.

While some performances consider the issues of historical memory, cultural traditions, or manipulation of facts -- Truth (Poland), Audience (Czech Republic), Hungarian Acacia (Hungary) -- others delve into a more intimate realm by raising questions of privacy and personal boundaries in relationships: Watch Now (Slovakia), Woman Alone (Romania).

The 2019 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival is taking place at the historic Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan. All performances are featured in their original languages with English supertitles. Each is followed by a Q&A with the performers and an afterparty hosted by the countries’ cultural institutes and consulates general in New York. Special events include a month-long exhibition of photographs documenting the productions of Václav Havel’s plays, a live virtuoso performance by orchestra Gypsy Devils, and a vibrant panel discussion. The 2019 Gala celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 that brought freedom to Central and Eastern European countries. It honors Ambassador Craig Stapleton and Mrs. Dorothy Stapleton and bestows the Courageous Writer at Risk -- Disturbing the Peace Award. All Rehearsal for Truth performances are free to the public excluding the Gala.

For the first time, two plays from the Rehearsal for Truth program will premiere at the Jersey City Theater Center. The Slovak dance performance Watch Now will be featured on September 26, followed by the Polish performance Truth on September 27. For more information, visit www.jctcenter.org. In addition, Václav Havel’s play Audience will be featured at Davis Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., on October 2, and at Chopin Theatre in Chicago on October 6.


Tuesday, September 24, 7:30pm
Woman Alone / Romania / play, Q&A, afterparty

Playwrights: Dario Fo, Franca Rame
Directed by: Daniel Grigore-Simion
Cast: Andreea Bibiri
Presented by: Art Theatre Bucharest, Romanian Cultural Institute

Woman Alone unveils the story of Maria and the elements of her domestic life that entrap her. She grapples to cope with the pressure of her crazy father-in-law while raising a baby and dealing with a voyeuristic neighbor. Will Maria, an embodiment of physically, verbally or non-verbally abused women, find the courage to escape?


Wednesday, September 25, 7:30pm
Watch Now / Slovakia / play, Q&A, afterparty

Conceived and produced by: Lucia Holinova
Choreographers: Daniel Racek, Lucia Holinova
Performers: Magda Caprdova, Daniel Racek
Music: Vlado Holina, Vocals: Sandra Tordova
Presented by: RESERVA, Bratislava

Photo credit: Lea Loviskova

A captivating dance performance that delves into the present-day issues of identity and loss of privacy. Accompanied by live music, Watch Now follows a couple undergoing a difficult time in their relationship. Their fluid interplay sees mutual motions of pushing and pulling as they manipulate and gently caress each other while refusing contact and inflicting distress. The man and the woman interpret their shared touches, glances and gestures differently as they move through the sequences.

Saturday, September 28, 6:00pm
Hungarian Acacia / Hungary / presentation of performance projects, discussion

Conceived and directed by: Kristof Kelemen, Bence Gyorgy Palinkas

An engaging, behind-the-scenes glimpse of Hungarian Acacia and other performance projects conceived to address the public discourse in Hungary in a satirical way. Artists-directors Kelemen and Palinkas will discuss their creative practices and working methods and show footage of Hungarian Acacia iterated as a live event as well as an onstage re-enactment of societal activities with musical performances and recited political speeches.


Saturday, September 28, 7:30pm
Truth / Poland / play, Q&A, afterparty

Conceived and directed by: Piotr Borowski
Cast: Gianna Benvenuto, Magda Czarny, Michal Lorent
Presented by: Studium Teatralne, Warsaw, Polish Cultural Institute, supported by the City of Warsaw

Photo credit: PatMit

Truth exposes a lack thereof: an existence fraught with the absence of the sacred, devoid of any mystery, purpose or metaphysical worth. While the main character of Truth is not present, the scene is preoccupied with striving for knowledge and new creation, as well as with aggression, survival instinct and usurpation that claims a monopoly on truth. What are the sources of our cultural traditions? Haven’t we denied many established facts that guide us further toward answers on how to live—and why?

Friday, October 4, 7:30pm
Audience / Czech Republic / play, Q&A, afterparty

Playwright: Václav Havel
Directed by: Jakub Špalek
Cast: Jan Potměšil, Jakub Špalek
Presented by: Kašpar at Celetná Theater in Prague, Czech Center New York

Photo credit: Michal Hladík

Audience features a meeting between the brewery manager Sládek and his employee Vaněk. While the manager is clearly indulging in too many beers and binge drinking, it is less clear what he wants from Vaněk. Audience (1975) is the first piece in a trilogy of partly autobiographical one-act plays known as the “Vaněk Trilogy,” followed by Protest (1978) and Mistake (1983), based on Václav Havel’s experience of being forced to work in a brewery while under constant harassment from the Communist regime.


Thursday, September 26, 6:00pm
30 Years of Freedom Gala / benefit gala night

A benefit gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution leading to the independence of Czechoslovakia and other Central and Eastern European countries, with guests of honor Ambassador Craig Stapleton and Mrs. Dorothy Stapleton, and the presentation of the annual Courageous Writer at Risk -- Disturbing the Peace Award as well as an exciting live auction.

Friday, September 27, 7:30pm
Gypsy Devils / concert

The legendary Slovak orchestra Gypsy Devils brings to life original arrangements, combining classical pieces with musical genres such as jazz, ethno, flamenco and Gypsy. The orchestra interweaves styles, adding rhythmical and harmonic changes imbued with extraordinary virtuosity.

Monday, October 7, 6:00pm
In Conversation: Havel in America / moderated discussion

Pavla Niklová, Director of Václav Havel Library Foundation, has invited participants from the oral history collection Havel Conversations and authors of a new book Havel v Americe (Havel in America) featuring interviews from the project to share their experiences. The guests include William Luers, former U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, Director of the Iran Project; Wendy Luers, Founder and President of the Foundation for a Civil Society; Martin Palous, President of the VHLF, former Czech Ambassador to the U.S. and U.N.; Rosamund Johnston, historian and radio journalist specializing in Central Europe and the Czech Republic in particular; and Lenka Kabrhelova, 2018 Nieman Fellow, creative producer and presenter at Czech Radio.

September 5 – October 20
Václav Havel – Citizen and Dramatist / exhibition

Presented by: Czech Center New York

Graphic panel exhibition Václav Havel – Citizen and Dramatist showcases Václav Havel’s playwright trajectory through the printed stills of his theatrical works from the early 1960s to the present, both on Czech and foreign stages, and photographs and documents providing insight into Havel’s life. Short excerpts from Havel’s interviews will be read by Untitled Theater Company #61 at the opening on September 5. 

For more information visit VHLF official website.

For more information visit BBLA official website.



Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


From: Sep 24, 2019 7:00 PM
To: Oct 7, 2019 10:00 PM


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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