Color photograph of Czech playwright, poet, and political dissident Václav Havel.

Václav Havel

(1936 - 2011)

Václav Havel was a resident playwright of the Theater on the Balustrade—he had completed his best-known play, The Memorandum, in 1965—when he took part in the reforms of the Prague Spring in 1968. After the Soviet Union invaded the country, his plays were banned, his passport was confiscated, and he was arrested multiple times in the 1970s and 1980s. Subsequent to the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he became the first noncommunist president of Czechoslovakia since 1948.

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