An Uncertain Hour


An Uncertain Hour tells the story of the transformation of Primo Levi, an Italian-Jewish chemist, into a writer because of his experience in Auschwitz. The play poetically explores the spiritual struggle at the heart of all of Primo Levi's writing: the dual effort of every person to resist spiritual as well as physical extinction and to construct a meaning for human existence. The style of the play is rooted in the forms of oral storytelling common to the poets of the mountain country of northern and central Italy. This style understands the actors as storytellers, performing whatever roles or tasks are necessary to communicate the story to the audience. An Uncertain Hour portrays Primo Levi as a Dante for our times, calling us from the "infernos" of our own making, the various false lights of modern ideologies and dominating powers, to a genuine, human "paradiso," the light of sympathetic understanding, courageous compassion, and generous creativity for the good of all—the true purpose of science and art.
Format: Full-length drama
Cast Size: 9M/2F
Character breakdown

Primo Levi
A boy
A woman
Technician 1 and 2
Bureaucrat 1 and 2


Original or Prominent Production: Premiered at Bailiwick Repertory, Chicago on May 23, 1994.
Original Source Material: The life of Primo Levi.
Nationality of Author:
Original Language: English
Production Rights Holder:

Dramatic Publishing