LEWISTON – Bates College will present the American and English-language premiere of a work by Hungary’s leading playwright, György Spiró, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 16-18.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdayand at 2 p.m. Sunday in Gannett Theater, Pettigrew Hall, 2 Andrews Road. Admission is $6 for the general public, $3 for children and seniors.

Spiro will be in residence at Bates during the theater production workshop that will present his play “Prah.” This short piece is about two people who belong to the in-between generation of contemporary Hungary, explained Martin Andrucki, Charles A. Dana Professor of Theater at Bates. Born and raised under communism, the pair can’t imagine how to reinvent their lives when they suddenly become rich.

“It’s a darkly funny story about old habits confronted by new and unbelievable opportunities,” said Andrucki, who is leading the workshop and who commissioned the translation of the play, which he hopes will be become the standard English-language version.

Sharing the program with “Prah” is “Unveiling,” written in the 1970s by Vaclav Havel, the Czech writer and dramatist who became the first president of the Czech Republic after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

According to the Andrucki, Spiro “has paid sustained and detailed attention to the relationship between people and their social environment both during and after the communist era – finding plenty to be critical about in each period.”

“It’s important to see how an insider views life in Hungary after the fall of communism. Seeing this play will help American audiences understand some of the world’s headlines in terms of the everyday lives of ordinary people,” Andrucki added.

“Unveiling” is one of three plays Havel wrote, during the crackdown following Czechoslovakia’s “Prague Spring” of 1968, about a persecuted writer named Vanek. “Vanek is widely regarded as Havel’s alter ego,” Andrucki explained, “a man whose dissident politics have gotten him into trouble with the authorities and alienated him from his conformist friends.”

In “Unveiling,” a couple who invites Vanek to see their newly remodeled home try to sell Vanek on their consumerist view of life, with increasingly bizarre results. Havel’s scathingly funny satire of materialism gone wild has proven popular with audiences worldwide.

For more information, call 786-6161 or visit the Bates online box office at www.bates.edu/boxoffice.


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