Theater archives

Multimedia Layers Highlight Disorientation in The Pig, or Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for the Pig


When is a traditional Czech pig roast just a pig roast? And when is it something more, perhaps an intimation of popular revolution? The Pig, or Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for the Pig folk-dances atop this fine line with a wink and nod throughout its 80 perky minutes. Meanwhile, we spectators take part in the feast — and generate a little Velvet Revolution–style people power — by enjoying Slovak pork sandwiches and Czech beers.

Havel’s short 1987 tale of a dissident author’s hunt for a pig to serve at a celebration, and his absurd entanglement with wheeling and dealing peasants and journalists, was originally published in samizdat journals. For a 2010 staging, Vladimir Moravek spliced that original text with rural celebration scenes from The Bartered Bride, the 1860s Czech operetta; now, at 3-Legged Dog, adapter Edward Einhorn has added multimedia layers to highlight Havel’s allegories of political disorientation in the glasnost era.

It’s an exacting and purposeful project, and we can hear echoes of Havel’s distress today from Cairo to Kiev. Though the narrative elements lack a certain drive in director Henry Akona’s staging, The Pig is not so much a play as a suggestive choral collage, best seen from the bottom of a pilsner bottle and the right side of history.