USD theatre to produce play by Vaclav Havel

USD theatre to produce play by Vaclav Havel Largo Desolato, a political comedy by Vaclav Havel, the president of the Czech Republic, will be performed at The University of South Dakota, Feb. 24-27 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in Theatre I of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

Largo Desolato tells the story of Leopold Nettles, a philosopher who has written a document for which he has been branded an "intellectual hooligan." While the authorities seek to pressure the professor into disavowing that he is the author of the material in question, his supporters expect him to introduce new initiatives against government. The professor is in a vulnerable state, tortured by internal and external demons, and challenged to take action.

Written in 1984, shortly after Havel had been released from a lengthy prison term, Largo Desolato examines the writer's psychological condition and shows, in an absurdly comic yet terrifying way, what life in a totalitarian state can be like for a political dissident. Havel, a prolific author of philosophical and dramatic works, had all of his writings banned by the government and removed from libraries and bookstores. Theatres in Czechoslovakia were denied permission to produce his plays. Today, of course, his plays receive acclaim around the world, and he enjoys the privileges and perks that come with being his nation's president and a much sought-after spokesperson for civil rights.

Largo Desolato is directed by professor Eric Hagen and will feature guest artists Arthur Chadwick and John Wylie as designers of the setting and lighting, respectively. Graduate student Bea Ulrich designs the costumes, while undergraduate students, Jeremy Olson designs the sound and Vermillion native, David Barari plays the tortured Leopold Nettles.

Tickets to Largo Desolato are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and youth, and $1 for USD students with ID. Reservations can be made beginning February 16th by calling the USD Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400.

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