Contemporary Jewish Studies | Primo: Stage Reading from If This is a Man by Primo Levi
date: September 13, 2017
location: The Continuum Theater

To mark the 30th anniversary of Primo Levi’s death, Jacob Olesen performs a stage reading of If This is A Man Primo Levi’s powerful account of survival at Auschwitz. People survive in order to tell their story. Primo Levi survived to tell his. Primo aims to give voice to his account because it cannot and must not be forgotten. (In Italian with English subtitles.)

Levi’s intense words, along with the unquestionable literary value of his account, inspired Jacob Olesen to transpose the book to the stage, using Levi’s powerfully theatrical dialogues and descriptions of the men he encountered. So it is a question of telling a story, of telling it in the most direct and powerful way possible to bring the experience of Levi and his lost companions to life for a broad and diverse audience, and especially for younger people. Levi’s testimony is enacted with rational consternation, simplicity and, insofar as possible, a light touch, so that the audience can imagine and feel for themselves, without being forced to reach predetermined conclusions. To this end, the monologue deals not only with atrocities but also with episodes of daily life. In the end, Olesen’s goal is to communicate the humanity of the characters, even if they have been crushed by the relentless violence and consumed by their never-ending personal struggle to survive.


Enrico Carretta presents a stage-reading from If This is A Man by Primo Levi:

With Jacob Olesen
Directed by Giovanni Calò
Music by Massimo Fedeli
Set Designer Antonio Belardi
Lighting Designer and Sound Luca Febbraro