Vaclav Havel

Icons of the Century

When Harvey Keitel accepted his artistic achievement award from the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic in 2004, he recalled signing a petition to get a Czech playwright released from prison back in the ’80s.

That playwright, Vaclav Havel, went on to lead the “Velvet Revolution” that freed Czechoslovakia from the Soviet yoke, and become that nation’s first president under freedom.

Theater producer-director Gregory Mosher called Havel “the ultimate citizen artist in the second half of the 20th century.” As Havel is a citizen/artist again, theater fans can only hope the new century sees fresh writing to place alongside Havel’s truth-to-power masterworks such as “Largo Desolato” and “The Memorandum.”

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