How It’s New York: Václav Havel’s play Leaving is a fabulous play that hasn’t come to New York yet, because its Times review wasn’t strong enough. Unfortunately, that’s typical. New Yorkers are prone to think that if it’s good, we’ll get it. But that isn’t always true. New York also does not have a Czech bookstore, I discovered in the early 90s, when I still thought I would write my dissertation on Karel Capek, inspired by a visit from my brother Matthew Orel’s Czech friend Hanka, who traveled in 1991 to California where we lived then. 1991 was the first time many Czechs could leave the country. She was excited to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken (believe me, by the time I visited her in 1997, and KFC was in Wenceslas Square, that was no longer true).
How It’s Irish: Celto-Slav. The humor in this play, with its allusions to King Lear and The Cherry Orchard, has an Irish irreverence. And the theme taking on overfast economic grown is something Celtic Tiger cubs can surely relate to.