Spring Weekend: Concerning Human Identity
The play Change by Tomáš Loužný from the Czech Republic will be presented online at April 16 2021 as part of Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival’s 2021 [Virtual] Spring Weekend. The 2021 Spring Weekend: Concerning Human Identity is organized by the Václav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA) in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York and Consulate General of Slovakia in New York. Spring Weekend is part of the annual Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival honoring the playwright and human rights activist Václav Havel. It showcases contemporary European plays through stage readings performed and directed by New York City–based actors and directors.
The 2021 program has been conceived in consultation with Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute, Theatre Institute in Bratislava, Polish Cultural Institute New York and Theatre Institute in Prague.
The program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos. Promotion partners include the Czech Center New York, GOH Productions/Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, and PACE.V4 (Performing Arts Central Europe).
Tomáš Loužný’s Change will be shown in a block together with People’s Toast by American author Ellis Stump. The reading is followed by Q&A. Both presented plays are the winners of the Best Mini-Drama Student Contest, organized annually by the Václav Havel Library Foundation in partnership with Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno.
Change explores the phenomenon of “liquid” identity—an identity without meaning in a society with exaggeratedly good intentions. The play provides commentary on a world dominated by hate and misunderstanding towards anyone different in any way. Although inevitably political, Change attempts to offer an absurd view of the stupidity of powerful people and the helplessness of others.
Tomáš Loužný himself states about his work and the play: “My long term interest is to tackle current social topics but at the same time to not stay only on the level of newspaper comment. Simply, how to stay present but to keep the thoughts not tied to our time so that the play could resonate both today and in ten or more years. … I experimented with the liquid identity of the main character. Can we be interested in someone about whom we don’t know anything at the end of the play because he is constantly changing depending on how others look at him? Maybe yes, because this way we learn more about other people’s motives.”
Tomáš Loužný, photo: Anna Šolcová
Tomáš Loužný is a Czech playwright, theatre director, and translator. Apart from playwriting he is directing in many Czech theatres as well as adapting novels and other non-dramatic materials for his performances. He cooperates with Czech theaters such as Prague City Theatres, Theatre X10, The Drama Club in Prague, and Drama Studio in Ústí nad Labem. He is also interested in immersive theatre and in different forms of communication in between an actor and the audience. He had studied theatre directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. During the studies, in 2017 and again in 2018 he won the mini-drama contest organized by the Václav Havel Library in New York. Subsequently, he was welcomed as a visiting scholar at the New York University – Playwrights Horizons and at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. In 2020 he won the Radio Drama Contest at the Czech National Radio. Rather than being Czech he considers himself to be a European or a cosmopolitan.
Change (Czech Republic). Playwright: Tomas Loužný. Director: Patrice Miller. Stage Directions: John Amir. Cast: Yael Haskal (Woman), Bob Laine (Robert), Ellis Stump (Olga), Ann Marie Yoo (Martha).
The event will be broadcasted online, live on Zoom. RSVP is required to receive the Zoom link. RSVP online through Eventbrite.