Rehearsal for Truth 2021: The Madman and the Nun

Sat Jun 26 2021 at 08:00 pm to 08:30 pm

Bohemian National Hall | New York

The V\u00e1clav Havel Library Foundation
Publisher/HostThe Václav Havel Library Foundation
Rehearsal for Truth 2021: The Madman and the Nun Exploring the tyranny of society over the individual as well as the boundaries of sanity.
About this Event

The Madman and the Nun explores the tyranny of society over the individual as well as the boundaries of sanity. Sound familiar? The play can be seen as an absurdist comedy in which science, religion, and the state form a totalitarian alliance to bring about enforced happiness and social tranquility by means of psychiatric confinement. It is “dedicated to all the madmen of the world.”

In Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’s The Madman and the Nun, Walpurg, an acclaimed poet, is bound in a straitjacket in an insane asylum, his voice silenced by an even more insane bureaucracy of scientists and religious authorities. Whether Walpurg is a visionary or a hack is irrelevant, for in Witkiewicz's view, any artistic impulse "happens almost always on the very edge of madness." The asylum is run by lunatics. A nun is a creature of carnal passions. M**der is a cure for a murderer's madness.

The Madman and the Nun is about an artist's struggle to maintain his sanity in an insane world. On several occasions, Walpurg attempts to reveal to the audience that society is a soulless machine. This is the universe in which Walpurg finds himself, a universe full of inexplicable uncertainties. The artist by definition is self-destructive on a cosmic scale.

The Madman and the Nun (1923), Poland. Playwright: Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. Direction and choreography: Daniel Irizarry. Cast: Nicole Betancourt (Dr. Jan Bidello), Ishani Das (Dr. Ephraim Grün), Michael Leonard (Alexander Walpurg), Axh Marie (Sister Barbara), Folami Williams (Sister Anna), Daniel Irizarry (Professor Walldorf).

Set designer: Ozlem Gezgin. Set builder: Zilvinas Jonusas. Lighting design: Christina Tang. Music director: Desmar Guevara. Music: Troy “Mobius” Simms. Costume design: James Terrell. Produced by: Brooke Bell. Presented by: One-Eighth/Daniel Irizarry Theater, Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Free and open to the public. Suggested donation $10. RSVP through Eventbrite is required. More info about the festival:

Due to COVID-19 restrictions for indoor events, seating capacity is limited and on first-come first-served basis. Reservations must be made in advance. Wearing a face mask is required. No tickets will be available at the door, and anyone who has not received pre-event confirmation will be turned away.


The 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival honoring Vaclav Havel is organized by the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association. The program is co-produced by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, GOH Productions, Czech Center New York, Polish Cultural Institute New York, One-Eight/Daniel Irizarry Theater, Slovak Consulate General in New York, Palissimo Company, and Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague, Czech Republic.

The 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Theater Festival is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos. Additional support is by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York, Ceskoslovenska obchodni banka – Member of the KBC Group, PACE.V4 – Performing Arts Central Europe, Visegrad Countries Focus, and International Visegrad Fund.

Event Photos

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York, United States


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