Tomas Ralis, an undergraduate student of directing and dramaturgy at the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU) in Prague, is the winner of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation’s annual contest for the best mini-drama based on a play by Vaclav Havel.
This year’s contestants for the award were asked to write a one-act play based on a line from Havel’s play The Beggar’s Opera: “They serve best who know not that they serve.” Tomas’s winning play, entitled Safety Belts [Bezpecnostni pasy], deals with manipulation and responsibility in an anonymous society. The jury members included Professor Jan Vedral and Professor Daria Ullrichova, DAMU, and Anna Freimanova, Vaclav Havel Library.
Each year’s awardee is treated to a two-week visit to the New York, with a full agenda of meetings, plays, workshops, and classes. While in New York, Tomas will attend courses at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Tomas is looking forward to this tremendous opportunity to gain new experiences and make friends in the American context. As for his interest in New York productions, he would like especially to see American Buffalo at Circle in the Square Theatre, Hangmen at the John Golden Theatre, Hadestown at Walter Kerr Theatre, and The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre.
The Fellowship for Czech Theater Student is organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation together with the Theater Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations in New York. The fellowship is generously supported by Joseph Balaz, Vice-Chair of the VHLF Board of Directors.