Vaclav HavelLondon's Orange Tree theatre presents Havel's play ConspiratorsČTK | 2 SEPTEMBER 2011
London, Sept 1 (CTK) - This year's uprising in some Arab countries has turned Conspirators, a play by former Czech president Vaclav Havel, into a topical piece, Sam Walters, art director of London's Orange Tree theatre that staged the play's British premiere on Wednesday, has told CTK.
Havel, then Czechoslovak leading anti-communist dissident, wrote the play in the early 1970s, when the hardline communist regime banned him as an author.
The story takes place in an unnamed, remote, probably Latin American country that has just rid of its dictator but during the current chaos a group of high-ranking conspirators is trying to push through "order" and a strong-fist rule at the cost of democracy.
Conspirators describes the situation after a revolution when democracy is fragile and the life far from easy. People say bring back the strong fist, the devil all of us know. They say well-known autocracy may be better than a power vacuum and chaos they are unable to cope with, Walters, who produced the performance, said.
Recalling this year's "Arab Spring," he said such development has been experienced by Egypt and may also be faced by the post-Gaddafi Libya. Such a trend has appeared in eastern Europe as well, Walters said.
According to him, Conspirators differ from the other plays Havel wrote after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. His then plays seem to stem from the then situation, while Conspirators seem to be a projection of the future, Walters said.
He said it is a serious play about ideas and politics, but it is funny at the same time.
Conspirators, translated to English by Tomas Rychetsky and Carol Rocamora, has been staged only rarely. Havel, now 74, himself considers it his weakest play though he worked on it longer and more laboriously than on any other of his works.
Orange Tree theatre has gradually staged almost all Havel's plays since the 1970s, thus significantly promoting his work in Britain.