Havel’s The Garden Party Satirizes Life Under Communism (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Václav Havel aimed the weapons of satire against Communism in The Garden Party and other plays of the 1960’s, helping to keep alive the spirit of resistance to the Communist regime.
Summary of Event
When the four-act play Zahradní slavnost (The Garden Party, 1969), written by a twenty-seven-year-old Czech playwright named Václav Havel, was performed for the first time at the Theater on the Balustrade in Prague on December 3, 1963, few could recognize that this was the first step toward the peaceful overthrow of Communism in Czechoslovakia. Havel, denied access to higher education by the Communist state because of his upper-middle-class family background, had begun his career as a stagehand. By 1963, he had become literary manager of the Theater on the Balustrade, a small, independent, experimental theater with an innovative director, Jan Grossman, who would introduce Western European absurdist plays to the Czech stage. The Garden Party was the first play that Havel wrote alone; he had coauthored a play in 1961.
In The Garden Party, Hugo Pludek, an initially inarticulate youth, gains fluency by listening to his father’s proverbial middle-class wisdom and by repeating the clichés of officialdom. Using his new glibness to climb the bureaucratic career ladder, Hugo meets a knotty problem when he is placed in charge of both the Office of Liquidation...
(The entire section is 2426 words.)
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