The Silenced Theatre: Czech Playwrights without a Stage
Published: December 1979© 1979
344 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 18 b&w illustrations
Since the Soviet occupation of 1968 censorship has closed the curtain on free expression in Czechoslovakia. But plays continue to be circulated in typescript within the country, are regularly smuggled out for publication abroad, and continue to be produced without restriction in the West. This book is the first full-length study of Czechoslovak drama of the sixties and seventies.
The author discusses the works of major playwrights, including Václav Havel, Pavel Kohout, and Josef Topol; and the influence of the great Czech writers Kafka and Hašek as well as Western writers such as Beckett, Sartre, and Albee. Czech and Slovak playwrights have responded in a distinctive, courageous, and often very funny manner to a political situation perhaps best labelled 'absurd.' The author depicts movingly their portrait of the horror–and the unintended humour–of life in a rigidly bureaucratic society, a theme of universal interest.
The Silenced Theatre is the only detailed study of this dynamic and modern national theatre. This book will help to preserve Czech drama and create an awareness of its important role in Western literaturea role it continues to play even in exile from its homeland.