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Havel’s play leaving Nat’l Theater

Dispute over casting wife causes venue switch

PRAGUE — A long-awaited new work by playwright/former president Vaclav Havel will not open at Prague’s National Theater following a dispute over casting his wife, Dagmar Havlova, according to local reports.

The actress announced earlier this month that she would not play the role Havel wrote for her because of artistic differences with National Theater drama chief Michal Docekal.

Prague paper Pravo, citing an unidentified source, reported she’s back in the role, but at Havel’s former theater, the much less grandiose Theater on the Balustrade — or possibly at the Vinohrady Theater, where Havlova has performed for years.

The drama, “Odchazeni” (Leaving), was originally slated to preem at the National Theater, a national shrine for Czech culture, in May. Pravo reported Aug. 24 that Havel has broken off negotiations with National Theater “in part because it refused to cast his wife, Dagmar Havlova, in a leading role.”

Havel and the National Theater could not be reached for comment late Friday.

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