September 25-29, Alliance for New Music-Theatre mounted four sold-out “apartment performances” of Vaclav Havel’s play PROTEST in three different venues and in two cities (Washington D.C. and New York City.) The first was by special invitation of Ambassador Petr Gandalovič and held at the Ambassador’s residence for invited guests, including Dagmar Havlová, Havel’s widow, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, Jan Hamáček, with his special delegation. Performances the following two nights were by special invitation of Robert Enholm at The President Woodrow Wilson House. Finally, the company hightailed it to New York City to be part of the three-day celebration announced by Mayor De Blasio to celebrate Havel’s 80th birthday. The show was performed in the unique Gallery Space at the Czech Center.
The response of audience members afterwards demonstrated how powerful Havel’s play is — across time and how it spoke up slyly in protest to the totalitarian regime. With his incisive hits against the undermining of the individual by such a system, his understanding of human psychology, his courage to expose his own weakness in the alter-ego of his character, Vaněk, and most especially his impish wit, Havel makes us wince but also laugh. The work carries within it a spirit of universality as it probes into the importance of individual conscience and choice.
September 25th – Performance at the Czech Ambassador’s Residence
September 25th – Rehearsal at the Czech Ambassador’s Residence