Prague based Theatre on the Balustrade presents “V+W: LETTERS”

The Rehearsal for Truth theater festival honoring Vaclav Havel provides a platform for artists from Central Europe to perform in New York City this fall. On Thursday September 28 at 8:15 pm, the Czech Republic theater company, Theatre on the Balustrade, will present the production entitled KORESPONDENCE V+W / V+W: LETTERS

The production has been directed by Jan Mikulášek and features

Václav Vašák as Jiří Voskovec
Jiří Vyorálek as Jan Werich
Anežka Kubátová as Zdenička

Dramaturgy: Dora Viceníková Set: Svatopluk Sládeček Costumes: Marek Cpin Music selection: Jan Mikulášek

The text of this performance is drawn from the correspondence of Voskovec and Werich, the legendary founders of the Liberated Theatre in Prague, who had to flee fascist Europe and then separated in 1948 after the communist government got into power in Czechoslovakia. Their correspondence is a strong statement of life by two extraordinarily original and artistically mature personalities as they seek to understand a bipolar world full of iron curtains and cold wars.

These letters are priceless evidence of the intellectual and spiritual world of V+W and they are also the top literary work in Jiří Voskovec’s postwar period. “The form of abbreviation, short connections, theatrical allusions, plus the private codes and brilliant stylization, unbelievable addressing and signing” – these are the apt words the critics used to describe the correspondence.

The show will be performed in Czech with English subtitles.


The correspondence between Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich is a potent source of evidence regarding the lives of two exceptional people during a difficult time. The letters that the two legendary creatorsof the Liberated Theatre wrote to each other when their paths went in different directions after February1948 (Voskovec deciding to return to exile, Werich remaining in Czechoslovakia) are stunning testimony not only to their originality and artistic maturity, but also shed light on the lives of these significant figures in a bipolar world, full of iron curtains and cold wars. The letters, which in the case of Jiří Voskovec represent the pinnacle of his post-war literary production, are an invaluable record of the intellectual world of V + W. “The form of shorthand, short connections, theatrical references, private codes, as well as brilliant stylisation and unbelievable forms of address and signatures” – as the correspondence has been appositely described. V + W THE LETTERS shows this legendary couple from a non-traditional point of view: as two elderly, lonely men, with love affairs, everyday problems and declining health. The production was nominated for a number of theatre awards, gaining the Annual Award of the Czech Literary Fund Foundation in the field of theatre and radio.

 “This carefully-chosen selection from the correspondence of a creative duo split asunder by fate is directed by Jan Mikulášek with exceptional directorial invention. Their personal and artistic lives, plus the hint of a picture of a divided world, provide an opportunity for remarkable creations by actors Václav Vašák (Voskovec), famous saying of Werich’s – God knows whether he ever actually said it – that, shorn of its context, adorned every other public bar during the 1970s, “Since you’re alive, you should make sure you are,” is played as a solo in front of an open door three times. Each time, applause comes from behind the door, and each time Jiří Vyorálek as Werich sticks his backside through the door. If Werich should happen to be following the sketch from heaven, he would surely be pleased.”

Jan Kolář, Divadelní noviny

 “Mikulášek’s inventive work, precise down to the last detail, is not only enjoyed by the generation who had V + W engraved in their hearts, whether from records

or Frič’s film comedies. The Reduta’s latest play is not “just” a historical document, but also a bitter reminder of a bipolar world divided by an iron curtain. In its conclusion, above all, it becomes a raw but exceptional exploration of the bitter ends of two men, whom fate would not allow to be either together or apart.”

Luboš Mareček, MF DNES

The production was selected as the “Success of the Month” by the editors of Divadelní noviny.

The performance will take place in the Ballroom at the Bohemian National Hall and includes a talk back session introduced by Jan Mikulášek, Petr Štědroň, and Dora Viceníková.

This will be followed by an Afterparty in the BNH Ballroom Bar.

To Book FREE Tickets:


For the Full Program Click HERE

For more information, contact:

Pavla Niklova, Executive Director Vaclav Havel Library Foundation, Cell: +1 917 847-4342

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The Vaclav Havel Center