Prague: [Divadlo na zabradli], 1964. First Edition. Wraps. Square 16mo. Saddle-stapled black and white wraps. Minor edgewear and very slight touches of staple rust. [16pp.] including covers. Theater stamp to upper right corner of first page. Very good plus. Illustrated with photographs by Viktor Richter, calligrams by Havel, and text by director Jan Grossman, with layout and design by Libor Fára. Very good +. Item #23234
Program booklet for Havel's first play, performed for the first time at the opening of the 1963-64 season at the Balustrade Theater (Divadlo na zabradli). A absurdist satire on the Communist regime, The Garden Party's protagonist manages to inhabit, conform to, and succeed within a mystifying bureaucratic landscape without understanding it and without being truly recognized. Havel felt a deep affinity for Kafka ("I sometimes feel that I'm the only one who really understands Kafka," he would later say); a current of paranoia and alienation runs alongside the political message of The Garden Party, as does the theme of the failure of language to carry meaning in the form of concrete poems throughout. The play was produced five years before the Prague Spring and 26 years before Havel -- playwright, poet, political dissident, devoted fan of the Velvet Underground -- would be elected president. "There is something about him that attracts you," Lou Reed would say, after meeting Havel; "It's a magnetic power." Rare ephemera from from this important writer and dissident. And while our Czech isn't great, a dilligent search of OCLC suggests no holdings.