The Wilma Theater exists to present theater as an art form, engaging artists and audiences in an adventure of aesthetic philosophical reflection of the complexities of contemporary life. The Wilma produces thoughtful, well-crafted, productions of intelligent, daring plays that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and production styles. During the tenure of co-Artistic Directors Jiri and Blanka Zizka, The Wilma Theater has established a national reputation for provocative work ranging from the international drama of Bertolt Brecht, Athol Fugard, Eugene Ionesco, Joe Orton and Tom Stoppard to new American plays by Tina Howe, Romulus Linney, Quincy Long, Doug Wright, Amy Freed and many others, as well as premiering Jiri Zizka’s original adaptations of classic novels.
The Wilma Theater Celebrates Havel’s Legacy in Two Symposia Inspired by the U.S. Premiere Production of Leaving
Inspired by the U.S. Premiere of Leaving, by Václav Havel, The Wilma Theater will conduct two symposium sessions exploring Havel’s legacy and the historical and dramatic background of Leaving, his first new play in over 20 years. Václav Havel: The Art of the Impossible will occur on Sunday, May 30 at 4:30 pm, and Politics and Hubbubs will follow on Sunday, June 13 at 4:30 pm. These symposium discussions will assemble distinguished guests and present insightful documentary and artistic work that explores Havel’s life and times and his impact as a playwright and a world leader.
Václav Havel: The Art of the Impossible convenes a distinguished panel to discuss Havel’s legacy as playwright, politician, and philosopher. Wilma Dramaturg and Literary Manager Walter Bilderback will moderate a panel including Martin Beck Matušstíik, Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Religion at Arizona State University and a signer of Charter 77; Paul Wilson, translator of Leaving and other works by Václav Havel; and Jiri Zizka, co-Artistic Director of The Wilma Theater and director of Leaving.
Zizka and Bilderback will examine the historical and dramatic background of the play during Politics and Hubbubs. Their discussion will draw on and incorporate selections from Zizka’s film of Václav Havel’s Largo Desolato, starring F. Murray Abraham, and Citizen Havel, a documentary about Havel’s presidency of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.
The first play in 20 years from playwright and former Czech President Havel, Leaving will receive its U.S. Premiere production under co-Artistic Director Jiri Zizka’s direction, with Academy Award® nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) starring in the role of ex-Chancellor Dr. Vilėm Rieger. Leaving is an inventive story of a recently-retired Chancellor who confronts large questions of truth and power while he struggles to manage his eccentric family and humorous bevy of functionaries. Allusions from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare’s King Lear invade the Chancellor’s consciousness in this wry political tragicomedy.
Symposium tickets are free for all Leaving ticket-holders, and are otherwise $10. Seating is limited. For tickets, call the Wilma Box Office at (215) 546-7824 or email tickets [at] wilmatheater [dot] org. The Wilma Theater is located at 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.wilmatheater.org.
About the Panelists
Martin Beck Matuštíkis the Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Religion at Arizona State University. While a first-year student at Prague’s Charles University, at 19, Matuštík signed Charter 77, the Czech manifesto for human rights; he became a political refugee in August of 1977. As a Fulbright student of Jurgen Habermas in Frankfurt a/M in 1989, he witnessed the historical November fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia that lead to the election of Václav Havel as the first president of democratic Czechoslovakia. Matuštík returned to Charles University as a lecturer and Fulbright fellow in 1995. He has published six books, edited two collections, and co-edited the New Critical Theory series. His most recent book, Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope: Postsecular Meditations, was published in June 2008 by Indiana University Press.
Paul Wilsonis a freelance journalist, editor, radio producer and translator of Czech literature. Born in Ontario, he spent ten years in Czechoslovakia (1967-1977) where he was eventually expelled by the Communist government for his association with the dissident movement, particularly for his involvement with the underground music scene as a member of the legendary rock band The Plastic People of the Universe. He is currently working on several writing and translating projects, including a book on his ten years in Czechoslovakia. He has translated the work of numerous Czech writers, including many of Václav Havel’s plays, and his translation of Havel’s most recent memoir, To the Castle and Back, was published in 2007.
Jiri Zizka, a native of Prague, joined the Wilma as artist-in-residence in 1979, and quickly became co-Artistic Director. Zizka has directed over 70 productions at the Wilma and across the U.S., including his original adaptation of Orwell’s 1984, which he subsequently directed at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. and off-Broadway; Havel’s Temptation (off-Broadway), The Ruling Class, Indiscretions, Love and Anger, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Tin Pan Alley Rag, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Zizka has also collaborated with Tom Stoppard and directed his Arcadia, On the Razzle, Indian Ink, Night and Day and Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, a co-production of The Wilma Theater and The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center.
The Wilma Theater’s Symposium Series is supported by The Wallace Foundation Excellence Award grant. The Wallace Foundation Excellence Awards were created to support exemplary arts organizations to pioneer effective practices to engage more people in high-value arts activities.
Leavingwas funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. The DoubleTree Hotel is the Artistic Lead Sponsor of Leaving. Daniel Berger is Honorary Producer of Leaving.
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|Wilma Celebrates Havel Legacy in Two 'Leaving' Inspired Symposia.pdf||144.5 KB|
Canary Promotion, 215.690.4065
Megan Wendell, megan [at] canarypromo [dot] com
|05/19/2010 - 7:30pm - 06/20/2010 - 2:00pm||U.S. premiere of Havel's Leaving at The Wilma Theater|
|05/26/2010 - 7:30pm||Opening Night of the U.S. Premiere of Havel's Leaving|