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Performing Arts History & Criticism

The Silenced Theatre

Czech Playwrights without a Stage

by (author) Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1979
History & Criticism, General, General
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1979
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Since the Soviet occupation of 1968 censorship has closed the curtain on free expression in Czechoslovakia. But plays continue to be circulated in typescript within the country, are regularly smuggled out for publication abroad, and continue to be produced without restriction in the West. This book is the first full-length study of Czechoslovak drama of the sixties and seventies.


The author discusses the works of major playwrights, including Václav Havel, Pavel Kohout, and Josef Topol; and the influence of the great Czech writers Kafka and Haek as well as Western writers such as Beckett, Sartre, and Albee. Czech and Slovak playwrights have responded in a distinctive, courageous, and often very funny manner to a political situation perhaps best labelled 'absurd.' The author depicts movingly their portrait of the horror–and the unintended humour–of life in a rigidly bureaucratic society, a theme of universal interest.


The Silenced Theatre is the only detailed study of this dynamic and modern national theatre. This book will help to preserve Czech drama and create an awareness of its important role in Western literaturea role it continues to play even in exile from its homeland.

About the author

Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz is a professor emerita in the Department of Germanic Studies and was the Head of that department from 1980 to 1985.

Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz's profile page