19 September 2009 — 13 December 2009

Chancellor Rieger is leaving office. But does leaving office necessarily mean that he, his long-time companion, and his extended family have to leave the state villa, which has been their home for years?

While his former secretary, and the former secretary to his former secretary, grapple with the mechanics of change and his family prepare to face an uncertain future, the Chancellor himself considers his legacy amidst visits from journalists, an infatuated student and deputy minister Klein.

The play which, which has echoes of bothKing Lear and The Cherry Orchard, addresses the themes of change, dispossession and the passage of power from one generation to the next amidst the chaos of leaving.

The Orange Tree Theatre is delighted to announce that it is to present the UK premiere, and indeed the English language premiere, of Vaclav Havel's new play Leaving, as the opening production in our International Season. This is the first play that the former President of the Czech Republic has written since he was swept into political office by the events of 1989.

For the Orange Tree it is the culmination of a relationship that began in 1977. The play, which had its premiere in Prague in May, revolves around a leader who is leaving the office of Chancellor of his country and although the main thrust of the story may appear to have autobiographical overtones, Vaclav Havel in fact began work on the play in the late 80s before there was any likelihood that he might hold political office himself.