Masaryk in America premieres at Estates Theatre

The new production uses Masaryk’s own words about the creation of Czechoslovakia

The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia haven’t ended. A new production called Masaryk in America will have its world premiere Nov. 15 at the Estates Theater.

The play is based closely on historical records that show Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk’s relationship with then–US president Woodrow Wilson. Czech author Karel Čapek also figures into the show. He wrote a famous book of his conversations with Masaryk, which has just coincidentally been adapted into a Czech film.

The show at the Estates Theater features special guests reading and performing some of Masaryk’s most famous speeches from when he was in America during World War I advocating for a free and democratic Czechoslovakia. It also incorporates other material to give a broad picture of the man who became the first president of the unfortunately short-lived First Republic.

The show is in English and Czech with surtitles in the appropriate language.

“Under Masaryk, Czechoslovakia became the strongest democracy in Central Europe. Ultimately, Masaryk’s love for democracy and hate for violence gained him immense respect in the Czech lands and around the world. We celebrate the man who proudly defended ethics, democracy, humanism, philosophy, education, and art – Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as one of history’s most influential leaders who changed the course of the 20th century and beyond, serving as a model for democracy and leadership still to this day,” the Prague Shakespeare Company said in a description of the event.

The US was heavily involved in the establishment of Czechoslovakia. The basic concept behind the country included 10 of President Wilson’s 14 points. The earliest agreement on establishing the new country is called the Pittsburgh Agreement, as it was made in that city in the US state of Pennsylvania. Masaryk was the agreement’s main author.

His ties to the US go back even further, as he lectured at the University of Chicago in 1902 and ’07. His friendship with industrialist Charles Richard Crane led to Masaryk being introduced to Wilson. Crane also financed the painting of Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic.

US Ambassador Stephen B. King will introduce the production. The evening also features the Elektroshock String Quartet playing Smetana and Dvořák based on arrangements by Patrick Neil Doyle.

The cast includes Jan Unger as Masaryk, Bob Boudreaux as Wilson, Karel Hermanek Jr. as Čapek with special guests Erik W. Black of the US Embassy, Prof. Michael Halaska, Dana Morávková, Zdeněk Drábek, Guy Roberts, Nikol Heřmánková Kouklová, Peter Hosking, Jessica Boone, John Poston, Valeria Vasilová, Martin Kavan, Scott Bellefueille, Abigail Rice, Kristina Sitková and Marie Renčová Kružíková.

Masaryk in America is sponsored in part by the City of Prague, the US Embassy Prague and the Avast Foundation.

For more visit www.narodni-divadlo.cz/en.

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