Vaclav Havel Library Foundation together with the Theatre Faculty
of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU)
announce a contest for students of drama and performance studies
for the best mini-drama
on the theme “Ferdinand Vanek Today”
based on the character from the Vanek Trilogy
Deadline: May 15, 2019
Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) was a playwright, political dissident, and the former president of
Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. He became well-known as a dramatist in the 1960s
when his plays The Garden Party and The Memorandum were seen on world theatre stages. In the 1970s, he was one of the authors of Charter 77 – a manifesto calling for the Czechoslovak government to adhere to the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Agreement. In 1989, he became the leader of the two-month long Velvet Revolution, which culminated in his ascension to the Presidency of the re-established democratic Czechoslovakia.
The Vanek Trilogy is a set of three plays (Audience, The Unveiling, and Protest) by Vaclav
Havel in which the central character, Ferdinand Vanek is based on the playwright himself. In the first two plays, Vanek, a dissident recently released from prison, meets fellow citizens who try to convince him to collaborate with the repressive regime. In the third play, Vanek speaks with someone who wants to protest the corrupt system, but, as it turns out, this friend cannot bring himself to follow through on his own call to action.
A two-week residency in Prague with classes at different DAMU departments; visits to Prague theatres; stage reading of the winning play prepared by DAMU and Vaclav Havel Library in Prague; a round-trip air ticket to Prague and accommodation. The schedule at DAMU will be prepared individually according to the winner’s study focus and interests. Date: November 2019 (around November 17th, the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution).
DAMU is a modern, university-level school of the performing arts. It offers artistic personalities who have a broad cultural perspective and intense desire for profound learning the opportunity to integrate theatrical knowledge and skill with artistic experiment. DAMU is a highly selective school, providing professional education in all branches of theatre creation: acting, directing, dramaturgy, scenography, theory and criticism, theatre management, authorial creation, and drama in education in the fields of regular and alternative theatre, performance studies and puppetry.
The contest is open to students of drama and performance studies who submit an original play that has not been published and will not be published before the announcement of the contest results. The contest is anonymous. Plays should be sent in pdf format without the author’s name on the script to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line should be “Ferdinand Vanek Today“. Authors should submit a separate sheet with all contact information.
The winner will be announced in June 2019.
The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation together with the Dean of DAMU will name the jury. The jury will evaluate the creativity, thought-provoking story, understanding of the role of the
character Ferdinand Vanek and the original way of applying it to current society as well as other common criteria such as clear structure and organization of the play and its effect on the audience.
Feedback from Past Winners
2016 contest winner Jacob Sampson says, “…The experience that I was awarded for winning the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation playwriting competition was, hands down, the most eyeopening, fulfilling and inspiring opportunity that I have ever had the pleasure of enduring…The trip itself was life-changing for me because not only did it help validate my own perception of myself as a writer, it provided countless unique theatrical experiences that I am never going to forget.”