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Largo Desolato

Theatre critic Michael Billington introduces a classic play from the archives by Czech playwright and President, Vaclav Havel, to mark Havel's death in December last year.

When the death of the former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel was announced last year, Europe lost one of its great dissident voices. From the 1960s to the 1980s, BBC radio broadcast many new productions of Havel's plays - plays that were usually banned in his then-Communist homeland because of the way they mocked and interrogated the absurd nature of totalitarian rule.

Michael Billington, theatre-critic for the Guardian for much of this period, introduces another chance to hear a 1987 Havel black comedy called Largo Desolato in an English version by Tom Stoppard, himself born in Czechoslovakia.

Richard Briers stars as Leopold, a philosopher who has offended the authorities in an unnamed country. He has written a certain philosophical essay and anxiously each day awaits the knock on the door. His friends, of course, expect him to act like a hero....

Professor Leopold Nettles.......................Richard Briers
Edward.................................................Paul Gregory
Suzanna............................................Jennifer Piercey
First Sidney.........................................Philip Jackson
Second Sidney........................................David Goodland
Lucy...................................................Belinda Lang
Bertram................................................John Moffatt
First Chap..........................................Anthony Jackson
Second Chap............................................Ian Thompson
Marguerite..............................................Sue Broomfield

Produced by Matthew Walters.

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