Primo Levi, Italian-Jewish writer and chemist, first gained fame with his autobiographical story Se questo č un uomo (1947, If This is a Man) of survival in Nazi concentration camps.
For the last forty years of his life, Levi devoted himself to attempting to deal with the fact that he was not killed in Auschwitz "The worst survived, that is, the fittest; the best all died," he said. Levi also published poetry, science fiction, essays, and short stories. In 1987, at the age of 67, he killed himself.
Italo Calvino called Levi "one of the most important and gifted writers of our time."
When PRIMO opened in September 2004, it was instantly recognized as a major theatrical event; every performance was sold out. A work of astounding dramatic power, it brings to life Primo Levi's great testament to his year in Auschwitz. Antony Sher's towering performance is as controlled as Primo Levi's own lucid prose. Beautifully directed by Richard Wilson and presented in Hildegard Bechtler's magnificent, symbolist set, this is quite simply masterpiece theatre.
PRIMO was premiered at the Cottesloe Theatre, the National Theatre, London on 30 September 2004.