Vaclav Havel, a man of the theatre
On the occasion of Vaclav Havel?s official visit to France, the actors and directors who have performed Mr. Havel?s plays in France pay homage to the dramatist at the la Bruyère theatre. Numerous prominent figures from the French theatre scene are present, including Pierre Arditi, Daniel Gélin and Stéphanie Meldegg, the director of the la Bruyère theatre, all of whom are interviewed.
Born in Prague's economic and intellectual elite, Vaclav Havel (1936) saw his education disrupted by the communist regime. Forced to work and unable to enter universities, he took night classes and set out to study economics, before becoming an intern in Prague theatres and taking long distance playwright courses. His work started getting published in 1955, and his first plays (The Garden Party, 1963) were played despite criticism from the Czech communist government.
His commitment in the Prague Spring, his contribution within the Circle of independent writers, the open letter he wrote to president Husak and his commitment to Charter 77, in favour of the respect for human rights in Czechoslovakia earned him censorship as well as several prison terms, between 1977 and 1989. It's worth mentioning that while in prison, he wrote the Power of the Powerless essay (1978).
Named as interim president of the republic after the Velvet Revolution, he was elected as president in 1990. He quit in 1992, when the country was splitting up, and in 1993 he became the first president of the Czech Republic, for two terms. He then got back to writing essays (To the Castle and Back, 2007) and plays (Leaving, 2007).