CZECHOSLOVAK-AMERICAN MARIONETTE THEATRE WILL UNVEIL
A PUPPET PRODUCTION OF "AUDIENCE" BY VACLAV HAVEL JUNE 23 AND 29
AS PART OF 2021 REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH FESTIVAL
AT BOHEMIAN HALL, 321 E. 73rd STREET.

WHERE AND WHEN:
June 23 and 29 at 8:00 PM
Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street.
Presented by: GOH Productions and Czech Center New York.
This production is free and open to the public. Suggested donation $10.
RSVP through Eventbrite is required. Info and reservations: https://www.rehearsalfortruth.org
Photos are available at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rvNkkwB4kdUj98Hp9
Runs :60. Reviewers are invited to both performances.

NEW YORK, June 9 -- Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre will unveil a new marionette production of "Audience" by Vaclav Havel, translated and directed by Vit Horejs, June 23 and 29 at 8:00 PM in Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, as part of the 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Festival. The play, a dark comedy of spying in a brewery, will be staged with projected closeups of puppets from security cameras in order to suggest surveillance. In the last decade, such use of video has been employed to adapt marionette theater for large houses. The production's concept is by Vit Horejs and Theresa Linnihan, who will act the play together. The 300-seat theater in Bohemian Hall, with socially-distanced seating for this production, is a good venue for this approach of mixing live performers, marionettes and projected live video.

Havel’s classic autobiographical play follows Ferdinand Vanek, a distinguished playwright forced to a life of manual labor in a brewery because his writings have been banned by the Communist regime. He is called into the bleak office of his boss, a brewmaster who habitually summons him for endless repetitions of dialogue amidst excess consumption of beer.  The writer must take part in a game of cat and mouse -- pointless chat, clumsy interrogation, flattery, and alcohol consumption -- with an implied threat of a more dire consequences: the loss of even such menial job or imprisonment. Tiresome bureaucracy and constant fear under Communism have driven the boss to alcoholism and stints of rage and despair, which are often turned upon his inferiors. One way out of Vanek's predicament is for the writer to help his boss by writing weekly reports on himself, which he refuses to do, further offending his superior by mentioning his “principles.”

Vit Horejs will play Vanek and Theresa Linnihan will play the Brewmaster. Production design is by Alan Barnes Netherton. Production Stage Manager is Hjordis Linn-Blanford. Marionettes are by Milos Kasal and Jakub "Kuba" Krejci. Costumes and the Vanek marionette are by Theresa Linnihan. Producer is  Bonnie Sue Stein/GOH Productions.

To add a children's offering to the Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival, CAMT will also offer "Czech & Slovak Tales with Strings," a puppet show for tots aged 2 to 102, on Saturday June 26 from 3:00 to 4:30 PM at Bohemian Hall. Performed by Vit Horejs, it is a one-man marionette show of fairy tales replete with kings, clever village maidens, witches, and spirits.

The Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival is returning after a two-year gap caused by the pandemic. Previous work has included Vaclav Havel’s “Vanek Trilogy,” two productions imported from Prague: "Protest/Debt" in 2018 performed by Svanda Theatre and "Audience" performed by Vanda Theatre, and staged readings of "Vanek Variations" by Untitled Theatre Company No. 61.

These productions are free and open to the public. Suggested donation is $10. RSVP is required. For info and reservations, go to: https://www.rehearsalfortruth.org. No tickets or passes will be available at the door.

All attendees of the 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival will be required to wear masks, including children two years and older. Anyone who is not part of the same household must maintain a six-foot distance at all times. Restrooms will be available to the attendees, but not the water fountains. Hand sanitizers will be installed throughout the space. 

Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) was a playwright, essayist, political dissident, and, after 1989, president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. His first full-length play performed in public, "The Garden Party" (1963), won him international acclaim. Soon after its premiere came his well-known "The Memorandum" (1965) along with The Increased Difficulty of Concentration (1968). In 1968, "The Memorandum" was produced by Joseph Papp at The Public Theater in New York, earning Havel the first of his three Obie Awards and helping to establish his name in the US. During the repressive period that followed the 1968 Prague Spring, Communist authorities forbade the publication and performance of Havel’s works. He refused to be silenced and became an outspoken human rights advocate. He transformed his experience of working odd jobs into the so-called “Vanek Trilogy” (named after Ferdinand Vanek, a stand-in for Havel), which premiered clandestinely in the author's living room, and three screenplays which circulated in samizdat throughout Czechoslovakia. Havel's reputation as a leading dissident crystallized in January 1977 with the publication of the Charter 77, a Czechoslovak manifesto that called on the government to honor its human rights commitments under the Helsinki Accords. Havel was arrested many times throughout the remainder of Communism for alleged anti-state activities and sentenced to over four years in prison. His seminal essay, "The Power of the Powerless" (1978), had profound impact on dissident and human rights movements worldwide.

Vit Horejs was born in Prague and escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia in 1978. In 1990, with fellow émigrés, he founded Czechoslovak American Marionette Theater (CAMT) in New York. He has translated, written, adapted, and directed over two dozen marionette plays for CAMT. He is a resident artist at La MaMa Theater and has performed on stage, in films, and on TV. His published works include "Twelve Iron Sandals" (1985), "Pig and Bear" (1989), and "Faust" (1993). He co-produced "Faust on a String," an award-winning documentary about Czech puppetry, and wrote the lead essay for Czecho-Slovak-American Puppetry (GOH Productions, 1994). Horejs has received commission grants from The Henson Foundation, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Foundation for Jewish Culture, Columbia University and New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2018, he received the Czechoslovak Society for Arts and Sciences (SVU) Award in recognition of his lifetime achievement in fostering the art form of Czech and Slovak puppetry.

Theresa Linnihan joined the company of Czechoslovak American Marionette Theater (CAMT) in 1996 playing Polonius in their production of Hamlet. For the next two decades she served as a performer, designer, and associate director as the company developed original, provocative productions, re-imagined classics and toured to puppet festivals in Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, and the Czech Republic. In 2016 she relocated to Minneapolis, MN. There, for the past five years she has worked with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater and Barebones Puppets, building and performing for parades and pageants which reflect the sorrows and celebrations of a community that ignited a global call for justice and healing. She is a long standing member of The Puppeteer's Cooperative and is currently producing an online, animated version of "The Tempest" as well as "The Decameron of Now." 

Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (CAMT) is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of traditional and not-so-traditional puppetry. CAMT’s first New York season in 1990 featured "Johannes Dokchtor Faust, a Petrifying Puppet Comedye" with a cast of antique Czech puppets discovered by Vít Horejš at the Jan Hus Church, a historic cultural center in the heart of Manhattan’s original Czech neighborhood. CAMT’s 1994 "Faust" was presented as part of the Obie Award-winning Faust Festival in SoHo. At La MaMa E.T.C., the company has performed "Once There Was a Village," "The Life and Times of Lee Harvey Oswald; Don Juan, or The Wages of Debauchery; The Prose of the Transsiberian and of the Little Joan of France," "Rusalka,  the Little Rivermaid" and "Golem," which was co-produced with La MaMa and later featured in the 1998 Jim Henson International Festival. Other works include "The Very Sad Story of Ethel & Julius, Lovers and Spyes, and about Their Untymelie End while Sitting in a Small Room at the Correctional Facility in Ossining, N.Y.," "The Bass Saxophone," "Hamlet," "Twelfth Night," Kacha and the Devil," The White Doe, Or, The Piteous Trybulations of the Sufferyng Countess Jenovefa," A Christmas Carol, OY! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa" and "Twelve Iron Sandals." The company has played in 37 states in the U.S.A. and at international festivals in Poland, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Czech Republic.
(CAMT) is a program of GOH Productions, a nonprofit organization.

During the Pandemic, Vit Horejs, his marionettes and longtime musical collaborators streamed a series of 16 installments of "Naptime Stories for the Absurd Times" from a number of US and worldwide locations, starred in an Onur Tukel feature Film, “Scenes From An Empty Church” (release July 2021), and appeared at Carnegie Hall's festival "Voices of Hope" in the Centro Primo Levi film, “The Scandal of the Imagination.”

CAMT receives public funds from SBA, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Council Member Carlina Rivera. Additional support comes from Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences and Materials for the Arts. The company offers thanks to Captain Lawrence Brewery.


ABOUT THE 2021 REHEARSAL FOR TRUTH THEATER FESTIVAL
Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival is a showcase of contemporary European theater organized each year in New York City. Conceived in 2017 as a shared endeavor of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA), the festival honors the legacy of Czech playwright, dissident and political thinker Vaclav Havel.

Each edition of Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival addresses current socio-political trends in Central Europe, offering New York audiences a unique opportunity to witness the region’s theatrical zeitgeist.

This 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival honoring Vaclav Havel is organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association. The program is co-produced by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, GOH Productions, Czech Center New York, Polish Cultural Institute New York, One-Eight/Daniel Irizarry Theater, Slovak Consulate General in New York, Palissimo Company and Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague, Czech Republic.
 
The 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos. Additional support is by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York, Ceskoslovenska obchodni banka – Member of the KBC Group, PACE.V4 – Performing Arts Central Europe, Visegrad Countries Focus, and International Visegrad Fund.

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Photos are available at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rvNkkwB4kdUj98Hp9
Reviewers are invited to both performances.