Five serio-comic one act plays:
In Audience, Private View, and Protest, the dissident Vaněk (Havel’s alter ego) encounters people trapped by the moral dilemmas inherent in a Communist system. The trio of plays is bookended by Harold Pinter’s New World Order and Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe, the latter written in tribute to Havel.
The Vaněk plays (along with all of Havel’s work) were banned in Czechoslovakia, but that didn’t prevent people from performing them in their living rooms, copying them surreptitiously as samizdat (illegal, faded copies of banned work), or even recording them on vinyl.
One of Havel’s core ideas in his philosophical essays is the concept of “living in truth,” that each small compromise we make with the truth leads to larger compromises, until it snowballs into a society-wide epidemic in which lying becomes the institutional path.