By Kennedy Eberechi
Vaclav Havel, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the 1st President of the Czech Republic was a playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician who wrote more than 20 theatre plays and numerous non-fiction works which have been translated internationally.
As a writer of Czech literature, he is known for his plays, essays, and memoirs. He is considered by some to be the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. In his works, Havel explored the self-deluding rationalizations and moral compromises that characterize life under a totalitarian political system.
As an expression of the appreciation of Havel and his plays, his most popular work; Audience was performed by the Jos Repertory Theatre for Nigerians and the diplomatic community in Nigeria in commemoration of 30 years of Czech Democracy.
Written in 1975, and forming part of the Vanek Plays trilogy, Audience is a cleverly-constructed satire on power and those who wield it. The main character is Ferdinand Vanek, the playwright’s alter ego who is a distinguished intellectual forced to work in a brewery because his writing has been banned by the Czechoslovak Communist regime.
His boss, the foreman, an uneducated drunkard, calls him very often to his office for awkward talks. While gallons of beer are being consumed by the foreman, the absurd point of these calls is revealed only by the end of the play.
At the performing event which held at the Embassy of Brazil Amphitheatre in Abuja, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Nigeria; Amb. Marek Skolil summarized the plot while relating to the happenings in Czechoslovakia at that time. While thanking the Embassy of Brazil in Nigeria for accepting to host the event at their Embassy, he noted that on the African continent, Vaclav Havel plays have been performed in collaboration with Czech Embassies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria.
As a show of friendly network of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Nigeria, the event attracted several diplomats, Nigerian businessmen and women, top government functionaries, etc who were treated to traditional Czech refreshments and drinks after the performance.