Leaving

by Václav Havel
translated by Paul Wilson
directed by Jiri Zizka
starring Oscar® nominee David Strathairn
May 19, 2010June 20, 2010

Václav Havel, renowned playwright (Temptation, Largo Desolato) and former President of the Czech Republic, returns to the theater with his first play in 20 years, and Wilma audiences will be the first to see it in the U.S. Leaving is an inventive story of a recently retired Chancellor who struggles over questions of truth and power along with his eccentric family and humorous bevy of functionaries. Allusions from Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare's King Lear invade the Chancellor's consciousness in this wry political tragicomedy that received critical acclaim in Prague and in London where The Sunday Times hailed it as, "Thrillingly funny...a hilarious send-up of politics and of theatre!"

Running Time: 
2 hours and 10 minutes (includes a 15 minute intermission)

Press / News

Worldview: Havel on democracy: We haven't left the path
Václav Havel, Returning to Drama With Leaving
NPR
Cumulative Effect: Václav Havel's Leaving sums up the life of a statesman — and a playwright, too.
David Strathairn Returns to The Wilma Theater

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Interview with Translator Paul Wilson

Q: Havel draws upon techniques, images, and perhaps even quotations from his earlier plays in Leaving. What do you think would be useful for an American audience to know about Havel’s dramaturgy?
A: It might be useful for audiences to keep in mind that Havel sees himself as a playwright in the tradition of absurd drama, whose antecedents include Eugene Ionesco and Samuel Beckett, to name just two...

an absurdist drama from a surrealist politician

It’s not often you have the chance to produce a play written by someone who is also ranked on Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the “100 Top Global Thinkers” (number 23, between economist Robert Shiller and futurist Chris Anderson). But Václav Havel’s life has been anything but usual...

Video

Cast

Krista Apple • Monika
Janis Dardaris • Grandma
Mark Cairns • Albín
Mike Dees • Bob
Peter DeLaurier • Hanuš
Victoria Frings • Zuzanna
Leonard C. Haas • Dick
Trevor Long • Klein
Mary McCool • Bea
Kathryn Meisle • Irena
Jennifer R. Morris • Vlasta
Geddeth Smith • Oswald
Luigi Sottile • Victor
David Strathairn • Dr. Vilém Rieger
H. Michael Walls • Knobloch

Production Team

Jiri Zizka • Director
Václav Havel • Playwright
Paul Wilson • Translator
Klara Zieglerova • Set Designer
Vasilija Zivanic • Costume Designer
Jerold R. Forsyth • Lighting Designer
Nick Rye • Sound Designer
Walter Bilderback • Dramaturg
Iain Campbell • Production Manager
Patreshettarlini Adams • Stage Manager
Season Sponsor
Season Sponsor
Leaving was funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative
Season Sponsor
Artistic Sponsor

Honorary Producer Dan Berger