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The Astronaut — Play by Lucia Mann

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Jun 8, 2023
Jun 8, 2023
Bohemian National Hall

12:30 pm


6:30 pm Live Performance

Please join us for a 12:20 pm talk on HowlRound with playwright/director Lucia Mann and festival director Pavla Niklova.

And visit later in the day The Bohemian National Hall for a performance of Lucia Mann’s new play “The Astronaut.” Co-directed by Lucia Mann and Arnon Grunberg as part of the REHEARSAL FOR THE TRUTH theatre festival of The Vaclav Havel Center.

In “The Astronaut,” a father receives a visit from his son. Complications in their relationship quickly become clear – the son, who wears a full astronaut suit, never replies to his father. A tender exploration, by turns humorous and sad, of the many layers of a parent-child relationship, “The Astronaut” also indirectly explores the biography of a Czechoslovakian refugee who fled during the 1968 Prague Spring and traces the human consequences of this major historical event on his life, values, and personal relationships. “The Astronaut” is a touching variation on a one-man show, with the father speaking a series of monologues to his silent son.

This staged reading of “The Astronaut” is part of the Rehearsal for Truth Festival honoring Vaclav Havel and organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association.

The Rehearsal for Truth Festival is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. The program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legistlature.


Lucia Mann is a German writer of plays, feature films, TV series, and short stories; she has written two feature-length films that have been aired in several European countries. The daughter of Jewish refugees from Czechoslovakia and Poland, Lucia was born and raised in West Berlin and has also lived in Israel, England, and the Czech Republic. In Fall 2023, Lucia will begin a writer-in-residency program at The Ohio State University’s Melton Center for Jewish Studies.


Arnon Yasha Yves Grunberg (born 22 February 1971) is a Dutch writer of novels, essays, and columns. He grew up in Amsterdam in a Jewish immigrant family and was kicked out of high school at age seventeen. After a very short acting career, he started his own publishing company, Kasimir, in 1990 and wrote several plays. In 1994, he published his first novel, Blue Mondays, for which he received several Dutch prizes, including the Anton Wachter Prize and De Gouden Ezelsoor, awarded to the best-selling literary debut. Since then, he has written sixteen novels, including Silent Extras (1997), Phantom Pain (2000), Tirza (2006), and The Jewish Messiah (2008).  In addition to his novels, he has written many essays, columns, poems, screen-plays, and plays. His essays have appeared in international magazines such as The New York Times, Le Monde, Libération, The Times, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Courrier International, Revista Contexto and Süddeutsche Zeitung. In 2022, he received the PC Hooftprijs, a Dutch literary lifetime achievement award, and the Johannes Vermeer prize, the Dutch state prize for the arts.


August Zirner, born 1956 in Illinois, USA, is an American-Austrian actor and musician who has appeared in over 140 film productions. He is the only child of Austrian emigrants of Jewish descent and remains an American citizen. Since 1973, he has lived in Europe, attending the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna and holding engagements in Hanover and Wiesbaden as well in Vienna at the Burgtheater and the Theater in der Josefstadt. For eight years, he was a member of the ensemble at the Munich Kammerspiele. In 2006, he was awarded the Grimme Prize for the film “Wut”. Since 2010, he has also appeared as a jazz flutist with various language-music programs. Zirner is married to the actress Katalin Zsigmondy and lives in Prien am Chiemsee in Germany.


Co-presented by The Martin E Segal Theatre Center, The Vaclav Havel Center, and The Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association. Supported by the Drusilla Harvey Fund.