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Spring Weekend: Urn on an Empty Stage (Slovakia)

Vaclav Havel Library Foundation

Sunday, May 12, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)

Spring Weekend: Urn on an Empty Stage (Slovakia)

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Urn on An empty Stage May 15, 2019 Free  

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Event Details

Sunday, May 12, 3 pm

Urn on an Empty Stage by Martin Cicvak, translated by Katarina Briggler, directed by Michael Piatkowski           

Stage reading, Slovakia

Talk Back & After Party

In Urn on an Empty Stage, Martin Cicvak brilliantly explores the dynamics between authoritative figures and their “victims”, particularly women. Using the Greek myth of Europa, the play attacks the problem of gender equality and the status of women in today’s society. The story begins when three actresses and an opera diva meet on an empty stage. They have come to say their last farewell to a great director whose ashes they have brought with them in an urn.

With him, the women want to bury memories of career highlights along with recollections of the traumas the director caused them. But they are getting stuck in the preparation of the ceremony. They can’t come to an accord about its nature, or even agree about what has been and what is to come. At its heart, the play is a testimony to the complex relationships in the world of theater - the three actresses fight and detest each other, but also find themselves in tender harmony.

Martin Cicvak is a native of Kosice, Slovakia. His plays include Frankie is OK, Peggy is Fine and the House is Cool, Agent Sonia, Kukura, and Urn on an Empty Stage. His works have been produced across Europe including at Grace Theater London (under his own direction), Norwich Playhouse, State Theater Kosice (Slovakia), The North Theater in Satu Mare (Romania) and State Theater in Novi Sad (Serbia). Cicvak’s awards include the Alfred Radok Awardfor Talent of the Year (2000) and the most prestigious Slovak theater award Dosky (2004) for Best Direction and Best Production of Schimmelpfennig’s Arabian Night at the Slovak National Theater. From 1999 - 2004 he was the resident director of the National Theater in Brno. In 2000, he started to direct at the Prague theater The Drama Club. Cicvak has also directed productions in Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, Ljubljana, and Norwich. He has a Master’s degree in Directing from Janacek Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (JAMU) in Brno, Czech Republic and studied directing at Dartington College of Arts in London on the Erasmus Scholarship.

Michael Piatkowski began his professional theatre career, age 12, at the Jan Hus Playhouse (just a block up from BNH) playing Pinocchio. Throughout his 55 year career in New York theater, he has been a director, playwright, as well as a prolific costume designer for many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Most recently, he has directed at the Alchemical Theater, The Secret Theater, The Players Theater, and The Alpha Theater Company, among others. He is thrilled to be working on this new exciting play with these amazing actresses.  



The Rehearsal for Truth theater festival, honoring Vaclav Havel presents Spring Weekend. It is a showcase of emerging Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak playwrights whose work reflects on current social and political issues. The plays have been translated into English and feature local New York performers and directors who will have the opportunity to try out these works onstage as part of the European Month of Culture. The program will include a full Romanian production as well.

The cultural institutions of these five countries collaborate with VHLF to select the plays as well as arrange trips for some of the chosen playwrights to NYC to participate in the rehearsals, stage reading performances, and discussions with the audience after the shows.

The program is organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association, in collaboration with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, Consulate General of Slovakia, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and Untitled Theater Company #61.

The program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



The festival weekend begins with a VIP pre-festival party,The Spring Weekend Soiree, on May 9th at 7pm, at the Bohemian Spirit Restaurant, and all proceeds support the artists. The party features discussions with local directors: Adrian Alea, Edward Einhorn, Simona Maicanescu, Michael Piatkowski and Zishan Ugurlu, and includes short excerpts from the plays themselves. Guests will also enjoy the vibrant music of Central Europe. All tickets can be purchased at and include traditional Czech food and beer.

Friday, May 10, at 7pm, features a stage reading of Vanek Variations from the Czech Republic: Audience, by Vaclav Havel; The Meeting by Edward Einhorn; Infiltration by  Petr Erbes, all directed by Edward Einhorn.

Saturday, May 11, at 4 pm, features the stage reading of a  Hungarian play by Andrea Pass, Sunflower, directed by Adrian Alea.

At 8 pm on May 11th, audiences will experience a full length production of the Romanian play by Herta Muller, Hoped I Wouldn’t Meet Myself Today, directed and performed by Simona Maicanescu.

A stage reading of the Slovakian play, Urn on an Empty Stage, by Martin Cicvak and directed by Katarina Vizina will be presented on Sunday, May 12 at 3 pm.

Poland’s Magda Fertacz’s Puppenhaus. Treatment, directed by Zishan Ugurlu, closes the weekend on May 12th at 7pm.


All productions for this Spring Weekend are held at the Bohemian National Hall, 321 E. 73rd St., New York, NY, 10021, and have been translated into English. The stage readings and full-length production are free events, and reservations can be made on eventbrite. After every stage reading and production, there will be talk backs with the artists followed by a small reception hosted by the featured country’s cultural institution.


Have questions about Spring Weekend: Urn on an Empty Stage (Slovakia)? Contact Vaclav Havel Library Foundation

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When & Where

Bohemian National Hall
321 East 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021

Sunday, May 12, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)

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Vaclav Havel Library Foundation

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in the United States to honor, preserve, and build upon the legacy of playwright, dissident, and former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel.

We complement Vaclav Havel Library in Prague by organizing access to unique materials documenting Havel’s accomplishments and activities in North America. We create an effective, cutting-edge interactive platform and bridge to promote worldwide awareness of Havel’s crucial contributions not only to the democratic transition in Central Europe, but to ongoing debates about a much larger transition of the global community from the 20th to 21st century.

U.S. Congress, February 21, 1990

Through activities relating to issues important to Havel, support of research devoted to themes connected to Havel’s legacy as a playwright, and memorials recognizing Havel’s influence as a Global Citizen, VHLF aims to serve as a “living library” focused on advancing the legacy of former President Havel.

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