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Sep 29, 2016 7:00 PM

Protest - Václav Havel

In celebration of the late Václav Havel’s 80th birth anniversary, Alliance for New Music-Theatre will present his “Vaněk play”-Protest.


In commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the birth of Václav Havel, Alliance for New Music-Theatre in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic and Czech Center New York presents PROTESTa play by Václav Havel, directed by Susan Galbraith with actors Drew Valins and David Millstone.

Vaněk pays a visit to the lavish home of former colleague Staněk, who has invited the renowned activist to help him secure the release of a jailed radical musician, fiancé to his daughter. Vaněk also seeks a favor: the influential man's signature in a far-reaching protest. The play exposes life under a totalitarian regime and the thin line between acquiescence and culpability.                                                                                                  

In celebration of Václav Havel’s 80th anniversary and at the special invitation of Ambassador Petr Gandalovic, Alliance for New Music-Theatre and The Embassy of the Czech Republic will present a “Vanek play” – Protest – by the playwright, activist, political prisoner, and president of the former Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic.

The performance is designed to acknowledge the courage and the comaraderie that conjoined in the original stagings, called “apartment performances.” Havel and other publically banned artists found this radical  solution as a way to share their works with their audiences as private living room performances.  The performances were known for their intimacy, their sly in-jokes about notable Czech artists (including Havel himself taking on the role of Vanek) and their tongue-in-cheek pokes at the Soviet-controlled country. Havel’s “Vanek” became a kind of alter-ego or at least a much-beloved symbol of a counter-culture that later would bring about a bloodless “Velvet” Revolution. Many other playwrights, including Pavel Kohout and Tom Stoppard, modeled plays on the Vanek character.

In 2013, the Czech Embassy invited the Alliance to be part of their Mutual Inspirations Festival where the company presented a Havel double bill of Antiwords (Unveiling) with Mirenka Čechova and Čechova’s direction of Unveiling. In 2014 Alliance produced its own original take on Vanek with its music-theatre confection, Vanek Unleashed, composed by Maurice Saylor, and presented the work with Unveiling for 16 performances in Washington D.C. before taking the works to the Prague Fringe Festival. Both shows were enthusiastically received, and Susan was nominated for both best actress (Unveiling) and best director/creative originality (Vaněk Unleashed.)   

This Fall marks the fourth time the Alliance has been honored to partner and play a key part in celebrations with the Czech Embassy.

Susan Galbraith directs Protest. Andrew Valins returns to the role of Vanek for his third production in The Havel Project. The production also features David Millstone, who performed the role of Father in Kafka’s Metamorphosis in the Alliance’s production both in Washington D.C.and Prague.



Susan Galbraith serves as Artistic Director of Alliance for New Music-Theatre and in 2012 launched Radical Transformations, a series of four shows and community workshops to celebrate the diversity of music-theatre styles and cultures represented in the Greater Washington area. She wrote and directed Sandaya: Burmese Lessons with composer/pianist Kit Young featuring both Burmese and American singers, dancers, puppeteers, and musicians as part of that series. In 2013, Susan returned to the stage as an actress in order to work with director Mirenka Čechova and The Czech Embassy and to perform in Unveiling by Václav Havel as part of the Czech’s Mutual Inspiration Festival as well as devising and directing an original “companion piece” about Havel entitled Vaněk Unleashed with composer Maurice Saylor. In September 2014, Susan directed an adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis that also performed in D.C. as part of the following year’s Mutual Inspirations Festival, and the company was invited back to Prague to present its Kafka.  In 2015, the Czech Embassy invited the Alliance a third time to create a centerpiece for the Mutual Inspirations Festival, and the Alliance shared a reading of R.U.R., its latest music-theatre adaptation in development, at both The Kennedy Center and the Czech Embassy.  The much anticipated work is based on the 1920’s play by Karel Čapek, in which the playwright coined the word and the launched the conversation about “robots” and artificial intelligence. The play dramatizes the conflict very much part of today’s conversation: whether the combination of a robotic work force and artificial intelligence will liberate mankind from economic drudgery or threaten to overcome and destroy the human race.  The new production of R.U.R. promises to be experimental in music and presentation

This Fall, at the special invitation of Ambassador Gondolovic and the Embassy of the Czech Republic, Susan Galbraith will direct a production of yet one more “Vanek play,” Protest, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Václav Havel.



David Millstone is pleased to perform again with the Alliance for New Music-theatre as Stanek in Protest. He performed in the Alliance’s previous production of Metamorphosis (Mr. Samsa) in both Washington D.C. and Prague. Other theater credits include two years in rotating repertory with the American Shakespeare Center, where in eight productions he played twenty roles, including Henry IV in Henry IV, Part 1, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Dr. Caius in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Holofernes in Loves’ Labors’ Lost, among others. Favorite roles at other theaters include Nixon, in Frost/Nixon (Springer Opera House), James Tyrone, Jr. in A Moon for the Misbegotten (u/s, The Arden Theatre Co.), The Actor, in The Woman in Black (Wayside Theatre), Radzi, in In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Northwest Classical Theatre), and The Mayor, in The Front Page (Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre.) He can also be seen in the upcoming PBS documentary, The Sultan and the Saint, as well as in other TV and a number of independent films. David has also sailed his own sloop through the Bahamas, motorcycled across the United States (twice, the long way), and spends more and more time under the water, scuba diving. MFA, theatre, University of Houston Professional Actor Training Program. MA, English Education, Teachers College of Columbia University. Proud Member, Actors Equity Association and Artistic Member, Alliance for New Music-Theatre. Please visit davidmillstone.com for more information.

Drew Valins, native of Tampa, FL, has worked on the NY stage for eleven years in productions ranging from classical to contemporary to commedia and clown. As a six-year member of the troupe Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, Drew has spent many summers on the tarmac in the East Village and on the stage in Bryant Park. Recently in the role of Iago, one critic said “Drew’s Iago is handled as expertly as Kenneth Branaugh’s with Lawrence Fishburne or Bob Hoskin’s with Anthony Hopkins’.” Aside from Shakespeare, Drew has gravitated toward other European writers: His ongoing solo project, Franz Fragments, in which he theatrically probes the many works of Franz Kafka, has appeared on numerous stages and alternative spaces including his solo show: A Report to an Academy based on the short story by Kafka in which Drew plays a serious and passionate humanized ape. Drew has worked with Anne Bogart (Columbia Stages), Bonnie Monte (Shakespeare Theater of NJ), The Vital Children’s Theater, and Jef Johnson of Slava’s Snowshow, as well as with countless Columbia Film Graduate students on their projects and is the star of the web series pilot The Mackenzie Dylan Show. His principal training is with the Shakespeare Theater of NJ, Dell Arte School of Physical Theater, Anna Brennen and Stageworks Theater, Michael Howard, Larry Singer, Jef Johnson, and the streets of NYC. Before landing in New York, Drew completed his MA in Counseling Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in California where he deepened his interest in Jungian studies and mythology, as well as a two-year stint in Medical School before dropping out due to inner tectonic shifting. He also graduated magna cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania with a BA in French.

In recent years Drew collaborated with Prague’s Spitfire Company and DC’s Alliance for New Music-Theatre to portray Vaclav Havel’s alter ego, the dissident playwright Ferdinand Vanek. Protest will be the third play and collaboration with the Alliance and the Embassy of the Czech Republic where Valins takes on the role of Vanek.

Please visit www.drewvalins.com for more information.



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Sep 29, 2016 7:00 PM


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