Primo (2004):The Performance of Traumatic Testimony

A. Forsyth, Derek Paget (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


This article focuses upon Antony Sher's one-hander, Primo (2004), adapted from Holocaust survivor Primo Levi's 1947 memoir If This Is a Man. Mindful of the specific socio-political contexts and distinctive variations between the historical atrocities that have inspired and continue to inspire performances of testimony, it is useful to note that this discussion is confined to the exploration of the very specific ethical demands and aesthetic challenges of a work that is dramaturgically responding to a written and widely circulated canonical testimony of an atrocity in the historical past the Holocaust. Levi's memoir is based on his experiences of a catastrophic event situated within a specific and discrete period of history, and in this respect this discussion of testimonial theatre is in no way a definitive or exhaustive analysis of what has evolved, amidst the murderous and bloody conflicts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, into a definable genre; rather it is offered as just one example of a very specific approach to and analysis of a testimony of trauma in performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Theatre and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2011


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