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Havel: The Passion of Thought

From 27 member  reviews
Members say: Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Profound, Intelligent

About the show

PTP/NYC (Potomac Theatre Project) presents an evening of five serio-comic one act plays from master playwrights Harold Pinter, Václav Havel, and Samuel Beckett. More…

From the show:

In Audience, Private View, and Protest, the dissident Vaněk (Havel’s alter ego) encounters people trapped by the moral dilemmas inherent in a Communist system. The trio of plays is bookended by Harold Pinter’s New World Order and Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe, the latter written in tribute to Havel.

The Vaněk plays (along with all of Havel’s work) were banned in Czechoslovakia, but that didn’t prevent people from performing them in their living rooms, copying them surreptitiously as samizdat (illegal, faded copies of banned work), or even recording them on vinyl.

Member Reviews (27)


Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing, Profound, Intelligent
Avg Score

Profound, Great writing, Relevant, Riveting, Ambitious

See it if you don't know Havel; he is a must-see playwright. His 3 pieces have diff styles...and all are excellent. Bookend Pinter/Beckett are good.

Don't see it if you dislike provocative political plays. Acting is mostly strg. Gr night of theater, unless you only like airy musicals.

Clever, Intelligent, Profound, Great writing

See it if 5 shorts all well done with good casting and direction.

Don't see it if If you want a musical or something that is not deep.

Profound, Intense, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if to see a quintet of subversive political plays that illuminate the subjugation of dissidents in the 70s/80s/90s (& still resonates today).

Don't see it if u aren't interested in political theatre; u don't want to be confronted with the realities (from the POV of a rebel) of communist repression

Also The centerpiece of this production -- a triptych by future statesman V... Read more Read less

Edgy, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if 5 one acts-brief yet w/the potency of a bee string Well directed by Ramagnoli, all show a creeping dystopian view of society past & present

Don't see it if Havel's 3 Vanek's plays (the centerpiece) prove the weak part of the evening except the farsighted 'Protest' Pinter's opener is knife sharp

Committed, Precise, Absurdist, Chilling, Smart

See it if you are interested in experiencing theater of the absurd at its most politically committed.

Don't see it if scenes of muted political torture would upset you too much to sit through.

Also This smart evening of 1-acts brings together short works from 2 genera... Read more Read less

Heavy, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Middle triptych of the Czech plays focuses on dissident writer's (Havel) struggle on his path of accommodation/compromise using truth/virtue

Don't see it if Reliable acting from The Potomac Project offsets the thematically-appropriate, but superfluous bookend plays. (2:15)

Also "Good to know there's someone like you."

Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Political play that are intense with good acting.

Don't see it if If you like musical

Also This is my first time seeing anything done by Havel, serious with a to... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy intelligent theater with thought provoking and relevant dialogue. Havel's 2nd and 3rd plays the best of the five. Good acting.

Don't see it if you like fluffy or humorous theater. Even the funny parts were dark.

Also I loved what they did with the staging of the five plays in a very sma... Read more Read less

Political theater, Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Politics & oppression vs comedy & passivity; realism vs absurdism, free will vs. coersion. 5 plays of political satire well directed/acted.

Don't see it if you prefer straight comedy or drama; don't like political plays using the same passive protagonist who seems to light a fire under others.

Resonant, Profound, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Your a fan of brilliant 20th century writers! Havel, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.

Don't see it if You’re looking for musical of comedy.

Absorbing, Resonant, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you want to see 4 great, varied shorts that explore suppression and dissidence with more care and insight (and less ego) than railing satire

Don't see it if 1 so-so Pinter act is a dealbreaker for you even if it’s only maybe 6 minutes long and sort of silly

Also Havel's plays helped him end a Communist regime. What a great discover... Read more Read less

Edgy, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if political one-act plays, 3 middle ones by Havel written in 70's under repressive Czech regime; pieces by Pinter & Beckett; absurdist works

Don't see it if don't want plays about life under repressive regimes; sometimes a little heavy-handed but 'Protest' very good with its moral dilemma

Also an excellent David Barlow represents the playwright in all the pieces ... Read more Read less

At times, difficult to comprehend, Complex, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Superb acting

See it if you like content that is, at times, difficult to understand, 5 1 acts that vary in quality & analysis of society, politics & human traits.

Don't see it if you dislike plays that can be challenging to comprehend, are serious rather than light entertainment & are somewhat philosophical.

Resonant, Relevant, Great writing, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want to see five short plays involving dissidents that are absurd, clever, and politically charged.

Don't see it if You need straightforward plays or are not interested in politics.

Also This was my first time experiencing any of Havel’s plays. I am very im... Read more Read less

Profound, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever, Ambitious

See it if In tandem with Dogg's Hamlet and Cahoot's Macbeth a revisitation of two Czech playwrights and their work viewed through a contemporary lens

Don't see it if heady, intelligent, resonant, political and quite astonishing, as well as quirky, dissonant and unusual​.

Also astonishing acting---everything was stellar-- worth seeing twice.

Resonant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of Pinter and Havel and enjoy one act plays that make you think.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy one act plays and don't enjoy plays that are not on the surface

Also I found several of the one-act plays too long. I enjoyed them, but kep... Read more Read less

Resonant, Slow, Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if you want to see 5 serious one act plays about politics and dissident activities. 3 plays by Vaclav Havel, & one each by Pinter and Beckett

Don't see it if If you are tired of seeing things about politics. Two of the one acts by Havel were basically the same play with different characters.

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Relevant

See it if Havel's trilogy on dissident Czech Vaneck,Pinter's New World Order&Beckett'Catastrophe are still relevant on morality&tiranny.Grt act&set

Don't see it if you don't like absurdist playwrights who are often mirrors/molders, reflecting /changing history&instilling "passion" into new playwrights.

Also Kudos to PTP, director Richard Romagnoli ... Read more Read less

Variable in quality and impact but worth seeing

See it if a worthwhile opportunity to see 3 short but related plays written in a repressive regime.

Don't see it if you don't like or have had enough of political plays, or would find a mix of absurdity and realism incompatible.

Also The Pinter sets the tone; the Beckett seems anti-climatic, although ap... Read more Read less

Relevant, Profound, Riveting

See it if Intelligent thought provoking political theater. Great writing & acting. Valclav Havel plays resonate today & not to be missed.

Don't see it if You do not like profound theater.

Resonant, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you fear our country is entering a totalitarian phase and want to see a glimpse of the paranoia and absurdity of life in that environment

Don't see it if your head is in the sand about what is happening in Washington...

Profound, Intelligent, Hilarious, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you love laughing with amazing writing - my laughter came from deep within, really powerful stuff!

Don't see it if you hate absurdist theater

Dated, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Profound

See it if Interested in a good presentation of five short political satires.

Don't see it if You’re looking for something light and fluffy. Small theater.

Must see, Magnificent, Riveting, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if You crave relevant drama from a master who knows his subject - tyranny - first hand: the reality of oppressed life and ambiguity of action.

Don't see it if you prefer "on the nose", "tyranny is bad" plays.

Also Havel's memory may have faded here in the 50 years since he not only e... Read more Read less

During previews
Sharp, Profound, Funny, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if Five plays probing "living in a lie." Deep, challenging & philosophical. The 2nd & 3rd are also very funny. Excellent writing & directing

Don't see it if You don't want to be confronted with disturbing material, set in communist Eastern Europe, with a lot to say about the human condition.

July 17th, 2019
"A Vaclav Havel Trilogy Drives Evening of Political Theater. 'Havel: The Passion of Thought,' along with work by Harold Pinter and one by Samuel Beckett (dedicated to Havel), takes on morality and tyranny."
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July 18th, 2019
"Truth As the Immoral Fibre of Being in 'HAVEL: THE PASSION OF THOUGHT' at Atlantic Stage 2"
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July 20th, 2019
"A handful of mini-plays honors Vaclav Havel."
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July 24th, 2019
"That 'Havel: the Passion of Thought' still has much to say to us after 45 years says a great deal about the state of the world and human rights today. However, Richard Romagnoli fails to do justice to the plays by using the same flat style with all five."
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Cast & Creatives (5)