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Václav Havel’s play “Protest” Being Presented at Dupont Underground’s Arts & Cultural Space

Through Sun., May 21, the Alliance for New Music-Theatre has literally gone underground. In celebration of Dupont Underground’s Workspace Residency Program and Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s inclusion as “Theatre in Residence,” Alliance performing a work whose origins were also “underground.” The entrance down into Dupont Underground, plans for which we reported on in January 2016, is located directly across from the Hotel Dupont at New Hampshire Avenue on the east side of Dupont Circle. Its inaugural event, an exciting and hugely innovative show titled “Re-Ball!” was on view during May 2016.

As part of Václav Havel’s 80th  anniversary year, Alliance for New Music-Theatre and Dupont Underground join to present a “Vaněk” play – Protest – by Václav Havel -playwright, activist, political prisoner, and president of the former Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic.

The production, according to the producers, is designed to acknowledge the courage and the camaraderie that conjoined in the original stagings, called “apartment performances.” Havel (who was not only a  playwright but also an activist, political prisoner, and president of the former Czechoslovakia) and other publicly banned artists forced to go underground with their work used this radical solution to share their works with audiences in private living room performances. The productions were known for their intimacy, their sly in-jokes about notable Czech artists (including Havel himself taking on the role of Vaněk), and their tongue-in-cheek pokes at the Soviet-controlled country. Havel’s “Vaněk” became a kind of alter-ego or at least a much-beloved symbol of a counter-culture that later would bring about a bloodless “Velvet” Revolution. Many other playwrights, including Pavel Kohout and Tom Stoppard, modeled plays on the Vaněk-as-Everyman character.

Performances continue through May 21st, as follows: Wed.-Sat. evenings at 8 p.m.; 3 p.m. weekend matinees Sat. 13th & 20th, Sun. 21st ; special weekday 12 noon performances 12th, 15th, 18th & 19th. For ticket prices and ordering, click here.