, 73, was Czechoslovak and then Czech President from fall of the communist regime in late 1989 till 2003. He grew up in family which was part of the cultural and political events in 1920's, 1930's and 1940's.
The communists after 1948 punished the family by confiscating the property and did not allow Vaclav Havel to study the desired humanities. Despite other jobs as assistant in chemical laboratory he worked as stage technician and was able to study the Faculty of Theatre of the Academy of Musical Arts.
In 1980's he was in prison for his political thinking and during Velvet revolution
in November 1989 he became the natural leader. In December 1989 he was elected the Czechoslovak President. After Czechoslovakia split in 1992, he became first Czech President.
His last play Leaving had world premiere in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2008. The first foreign premiere took place in London, UK on 19 September 2008. Since September 2008 the drama has been staged in Slovakia, Germany, Bulgaria and Croatia.
The premiere in US is planned for the end of May. The play will be shown in Wilma Theater, Philadelphia.
Vaclav Havel said about his latest play
I was interested - and indeed am still interested - in the more general, existential side of things. I was interested in how come when someone loses power, that person also loses the meaning of life? How come power has such charisma for some people that its loss means the collapse of that person's world?
Vaclav Havel started to write the drama in 1989 but he stopped it as the Velvet revolution began. He returned to writing after retirement as Czech President:
The play's called Leaving, and by that I mean 'leaving' in the most general sense of the word. Time passes, everything that happens never happens again, yet at the same time everything that's happened cannot 'unhappen'. So all these moments pass us by in our lives, things 'leave', yet at the same time new things 'arrive', and of course some things 'return'. And in the last few weeks I've had the sense of returning, of returning not only physically to the theatre but also returning to my very beginnings as a playwright in the late 1950s and early 1960s.