321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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Spring Weekend: Urn on an Empty Stage

stage reading (Slovakia), talkback, afterparty 12 May, 2019 - 3:00 PM

[Bohemian National Hall]


Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival’s Spring Weekend presents a stage reading of Urn on an Empty Stage by Slovak playwright Martin Cicvak. In Urn on an Empty Stage, Martin Cicvak brilliantly explores the dynamics between authoritative figures and their “victims,” particularly women. Using the Greek myth of Europa, the play challenges the issues of gender equality and the status of women in today’s society. The story begins when three actresses and an opera diva meeting on an empty stage. They have come to say their last farewell to a great director whose ashes they have brought with them in an urn. With him, the women want to bury memories of career highlights along with recollections of the traumas the director caused them. But they are getting stuck in the preparation of the ceremony. They can’t come to an accord about its nature, or even agree about what has been and what is to come. At its heart, the play is a testimony to the complex relationships in the world of theater - the three actresses fight and detest each other, but also find themselves in tender harmony. 


Urn on an Empty Stage by Martin Cicvak, translated by Katarina Briggler, directed by Michael Piatkowski. Cast: Andrea Sooch, Diana Sillaots, Jeremy Carlisle Parker and Katarina Vizina (a.k.a. Briggler).



Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd Street, 1st Floor Cinema, New York, NY 10021


Free and open to the public. Space is limited, on first come, first served basis. RSVP online at Eventbrite.com.


Martin Cicvak is a native of Kosice, Slovakia. His plays include Frankie is OK, Peggy is Fine and the House is Cool, Agent Sonia, Kukura, and Urn on an Empty Stage. His works have been produced across Europe including at Grace Theater London (under his own direction), Norwich Playhouse, State Theater Kosice (Slovakia), The North Theater in Satu Mare (Romania) and State Theater in Novi Sad (Serbia). Cicvak has received a number of awards, including the Alfred Radok Awardfor Talent of the Year (2000) and the most prestigious Slovak theater award Dosky (2004) for Best Direction and Best Production of Schimmelpfennig’s Arabian Night at the Slovak National Theater. From 1999 - 2004 he was the resident director of the National Theater in Brno. In 2000, he started to direct at The Drama Club in Prague, Czech RepublicCicvak has also directed productions in Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, Ljubljana, and Norwich. He has a Master’s degree in Directing from Janacek Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (JAMU) in Brno, Czech Republic, and studied directing at Dartington College of Arts in London.


Michael Piatkowski began his professional theater career, age 12, at the Jan Hus Playhouse (at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in Manhattan) playing Pinocchio. Throughout his 55 year career in New York theater, he has been a director, playwright, as well as a prolific costume designer for many Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows. Most recently, he has directed at the Alchemical Theater, The Secret Theater, The Players Theater, and The Alpha Theater Company, among others. 


Katarina Briggler(a.k.a. Vizina is a native of Bratislava, Slovakia. She has translated work for Slovak, Czech, English, and German television shows, as well as historic documents for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germanyand a few plays. This is her second collaboration with the playwright Martin Cicvak, having translated his first play Frankie is OK, Peggy is Fine and the House is Cool (Dom, kdesa to robidobre) into German. She is also an actress whose performances include Rosalia (West Side Story), Kate (Brighton Beach Memoirs), Beatrice (A View from the Bridge), Elizabeth (Escape from Happiness), Kate (Old Times) and Cabaret Singer in The Pig by Vaclav Havel. She has performed with The Alpha Theater Company, The American Theater of Actors, The Alchemical Theater Company and the Chocolate Factory. She holds an MA in Musical Theater from The JanacekAcademy of Music and Dramatic Artsin Brno, Czech Republic and received the Fellowship for Outstanding Contribution to Theaterfrom Brooklyn College where she graduated with an MFA in Acting. 


Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival’s Spring Weekend is a showcase of emerging Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, and Slovak playwrights whose work reflects on current social and political issues. The plays have been translated into English and feature local New York performers and directors who will have the opportunity to try out these works onstage as part of the European Month of Culture. The program includes a full Romanian production as well.


Spring Weekend is organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA), in collaboration with Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York, Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in New York, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and Untitled Theater Company #61. The cultural institutions of these five countries collaborate with VHLF to select the plays as well as arrange trips for some of the chosen playwrights to New York City to participate in the rehearsals, stage reading performances, and discussions with the audience after the shows.


The program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Image: Photograph of Martin Cicvak.

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General