Drowned Or Saved? - Tristan Bates Theatre

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Off-West End - Shows

A new play exploring the life of holocaust survivor and revolutionary thinker, Primo Levi, premieres at the Tristan Bates Theatre this November, in an attempt to share Levi's message of humanity, togetherness and perseverance.
Drowned Or Saved? at Tristan Bates Theatre

Image: Tristan Bates Theatre

Primo Levi has become recognised around the world as one of the greatest, broadest thinkers of modern times.

Born in Turin in 1919, Levi was an Italian Jew transported to Auschwitz in 1943, at the age of 24.

Against all odds he survived the camp, but at what cost?

Drowned or Saved? depicts Levi as he reflects on having written some of the most significant documents the world has ever seen.

The works which detail the horror of his survival are of substantial historical interest because of the composed neutrality of their author.

The superhuman effort to maintain such a calm penmanship in spite of such inhumane horrors is brought to the stage through a cross-world journey that pulls from the memories which haunt Levi and unavoidably bring the characters from his past to life.

In this poignant, potent play peppered with cheeky Yiddish humour, RADA alumni and former Associate Director at the York Theatre, Geoffrey Williams, debuts this vital new script at a time rife with wild and extreme political debate.

Speaking about a rehearsed reading of the production earlier this year, acclaimed author of Primo Levi's biography, Ian Thomson, said:

"Drowned or Saved? opens a window onto Primo Levi's moral universe in a way that is respectful of both the man and his writing.

Auschwitz happened once; Auschwitz can happen again.

It is very difficult - even potentially indecent - to turn a life such as Levi's into theatre.

But this play is no mere entertainment; it makes you think, and think hard, and that is more than enough."

Full casting for the production is yet to be announced.


The weight of a life spent bearing witness.


Tomorrow meant never …

I think the last time I thought of tomorrow with any hope was on the train to Auschwitz."

A decade on from surviving the Auschwitz concentration camp, chemist and writer Primo Levi is restless as he struggles to complete what will be his final published work.

In search of guidance, he pulls from the memories which haunt him and inadvertently brings the characters from his past to life - though their input proves to be far more penetrating than expected.

In this poignant, potent play peppered with cheeky Yiddish humour, Geoffrey Williams invites you to embark on Primo's cross-world journey which explores the ambiguity of human nature as defined by one of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers.


Marco Gambino as Primo Levi

Paula Cassina as Lucia / Mrs Giordanino / Vanda

Alex Marchi as Elijah / Rabbi / Pawe? / Höes / Alex / Man on train

Eve Nikeras Null Achtzehn


Author: Geoffrey Williams
Director: Geoffrey Williams
Designer: Baska Wesolowska
Lighting: Matt Leventhall
Sound: Rachael Murray
Production: Niall Dingle and Theatre Alive!


Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower Street
Covent Garden


From: Tuesday 6 November 2018

Closed: Saturday 24 November 2018


Standard: £15

Concessions: £10


Show website
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