Credit: Czech Theater

Czech Theater Performs Vaclav Havel’s ‘The Garden Party’

Czech Theater has announced two final additional performances of Václav Havel’s The Garden Party on 1 June, at 3 pm and 7 pm. Czech Theater’s co-founder Anne Johnson shared some inside information with Brno Daily about the production.

What is Czech Theater?

Czech Theater is an amateur, multicultural, community theatre founded in Brno in 2018 with the goal of making Czech theatre accessible to the non-Czech speaking community, and also giving Czechs the opportunity to see their own culture through a different lens. The first scheduled performances of The Garden Party were a hit, so we added two additional shows so that nobody would miss this much-needed chance to laugh.

Who was Václav Havel?

Havel was born in 1936 in Prague. Because he opposed the Communist government, he was a dissident, closely monitored by the police. He worked in theatres as a stagehand and wrote plays that were reflections of the absurd circumstances of his time. He was arrested for speaking and writing against the government, and he served time in prison. In 1989, he was elected president of Czechoslovakia and then later was the first president of the new Czech Republic.

What is The Garden Party?

The Garden Party is a tale of bureaucracy gone mad. It’s a surreal satire that combines colourful characters and elaborate wordplay in a rich comedy that could be about any oppressive government or any workplace where the less sense you make, the higher you rise through the ranks. Think: Alice in Wonderland meets The Office.

Why should I see it?

Havel is the Czech Republic’s most famous playwright, and he might be even more famous as its first president. He led the country from the darkness and confusion of a communist regime into a quite different world. It’s interesting that the 27-year-old “bourgeois intellectual” who wrote this play, a sharp satire of the establishment, went on to lead a government.

The play is still funny today. Havel created an entire bank of phrases that sound like worn-out cliches and idioms but are entirely original. The translation by Vera Blackwell is amazing – she had to find a parallel grammatical structure and create idioms that sound equally plausible and absurd in English.

How is The Garden Party like a garden party?

We’ve invited a wonderful team from Brno’s beloved 4pokoje to set up their travelling bar. Theatregoers can order a themed cocktail (non-alcoholic options are available), a nice glass of prosecco, and even a light snack before the show. The doors to Vesna open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7, so you have a chance to enjoy the beautiful courtyard at Vesna before the show and at the intermission.

What else should I know?

This amateur production of The Garden Party is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd, on behalf of Samuel French Ltd. 1 June is your last chance to see The Garden Party. After this, Czech Theater will take a summer break and return in the autumn to prepare Maryša.

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