Another Vaclav Havel masterpiece, Audience, will play out at Theatre in the Park, following the successful run of his other play, Protest, at the same venue last week.
The play comes to Theatre in the Park courtesy of the Embassy of the Czech Republic and Complete Arts. It first premiered at Alliance Francaise on November 13.
It will run from Tuesday 3 December to Saturday 8 December 2012 starting at 5:30pm.
It features Charles Mucheriwa and Tafadzwa Hanandah and was directed by Susan Haines.
The famous playwright and former President of the Czech Republic, died in 2011 aged 75. In a similar manner as Nelson Mandela, he became an icon of the fight of Czechs and Slovaks against the oppressive political regime of then Czechoslovakia. In consequence Havel, like Mandela, spent years in prison to later reemerge as a leader of a broad popular movement which brought the communist regime down in 1989 and finally became President of the freed country.
Written in 1978, Audience deals with the travails of Havel’s alter-ego Ferdinand Vanek – recently released from jail for anti-government activities. In Audience he is stuck in the bleak office of the foreman of the brewery where he has been forced into menial labour. The tedious bureaucracy and constant paranoia of life under the Communists have driven the foreman to alcoholism and to the brink of insanity – he is prone to bouts of rage and despair.
In a bleakly humorous half-hour, reminiscent of the work of Samuel Beckett, Havel uses endless repetition of dialogue and action in order to build up a sense of the claustrophobia with which the Czech people were forced to live. He does provide a small glimmer of hope though: Vanek refuses to compromise his principles and inform on his colleagues, despite the promise of promotion, and while the play ends with the same conversation that it began with, it is Vanek who sits in the foreman’s seat, and vice versa. This time when asked how life is treating him he responds honestly, rather than with an apathetic platitude: things are not ‘OK’, but a ‘bloody mess.’
The first play of the famous trilogy by the late playwright and former President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel, Audience is an absurd tragicomic drama depicting a long meeting between Ferdinand Vanek, an intellectual and playwright fallen in disgrace and living under state surveillance, and a manager of a brewery Vanek is forced to work in.