Join us for a conversation with Gail Merrifield Papp of the New York's famed Public Theater, and Carol Rocamora, author of Acts of Courage: Vaclav Havel's Life in the Theater by Niemann Fellow journalist Lenka Kabrhelova. Interviewees will share their views on topics such as Havel’s influence, human rights around the world, and the responsibilities that go hand in hand with expanding social media and escalating global conflicts.
GAIL MERRIFIELD PAPP is the former Director of Plays and Musicals Development for The Public Theater. She moved to New York City to attend NYU and took a job reading plays at the brand new Lincoln Center Theater. In 1965, she joined Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival as his Executive Assistant. After Joe Papp acquired the Astor Library building on Lafayette Street to begin producing new American plays, Merrifield Papp was put in charge of producing new works at The Public, which premiered Vaclav Havel’s The Memorandum in spring of 1968.
CAROL ROCAMORA is an educator, translator, playwright and critic. Her three volumes of his complete translated dramatic works of Anton Chekhov have been published by Smith & Kraus. Her play, “I take your hand in mine....,” based on the correspondence of Chekhov and Olga Knipper, premiered in September 2001 at the Almeida Theatre in London. Since then, the play has been translated into many languages and performed in cities around the world. Her other publications include two biographies: Acts of Courage: Vaclav Havel’s Life in the Theatre (2005); Anton Chekhov: A Life In Four Acts (2013); and a new collection of Russian adaptations entitled, Troika (2016).
LENKA KABRHELOVA is a U.S. correspondent for Czech Radio the public radio broadcasting network in the Czech Republic. She previously worked as a Czech Radio correspondent in Russia, where she reported on political, social, economic and cultural stories, including the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, political trials and street protests in Moscow and developments in other post-Soviet nations. Kabrhelova has filed radio news stories, features, interviews and longer programs from nearly 20 different countries. She additionally worked as a presenter and reporter in the Czech section of the BBC World Service in Prague and in London.
HAVEL CONVERSATIONS is an oral history initiative in which politicians, academics, writers, and artists, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Madeleine Albright present firsthand memories of Havel, his colleagues, and the historical events he inspired. Equally important, they constitute a highly interesting set of statements on social and political issues affecting Americans and Europeans today. With deep political and social shifts taking place on both sides of the Atlantic, our interviewees intertwined their memories of Havel with questions about human rights, morality, and the decline of democratic values. The interviews reveal how much Havel continues to inspire thinking people today, and they will help spread knowledge of his life as an example of peaceful resistance and the importance of civic education.
Free and open to the public. Seats are limited, on first-come, first-served basis. RSVP online to reserve your seat at eventbrite.com.
This event is organized by Vaclav Havel Library Foundation with support of BBLA, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos.