The Mark of the Chemist: A Dialogue with Primo Levi
On the occasion of ESOF 2010 (Euro Science Open Forum, Torino July 2-7, 2010), the international science and technology meeting, the International Primo Levi Studies Center has presented The Mark of the Chemist: A Dialogue with Primo Levi, a dramatic reading of Primo Levi’s scientific writings. The performance was held under the aegis of the City of Turin and with the support of Intesa Sanpaolo. The theatrical dialogue, based on a selection of texts curated by Domenico Scarpa - literary critic from the University of Pisa - featured Valter Malosti, as director and interpreter. On stage, the sculpture The Guardian, by German artist Antje Rieck, completed an essential and suggestive scenography.
In The Mark of the Chemist: A Dialogue with Primo Levi, Primo Levi answers the questions of the interviewer and, in an intense and unique exchange, he talks about his scientific vocation, his life as witness to the concentration camp, and his experiences as narrator and laboratory technician.
The conversation is marked with the accents of fine writing as it reaches out to touch upon the discoveries and emotions of a young chemist who was attracted by the secrets of matter. It covers the painful perversions perpetrated on scientific knowledge in the laboratories of Auschwitz, the challenges and the joys of work done well, and the adventurous and timeless spaces of the infinitely little.
Primo Levi carried the mark of his being a chemist on his skin. He was a chemist by trade and a chemist out of a deep passion. The mark is in his writings, too: reading his work in this key helps discovering the relationship between two universes – that of science and that of the imagination and ethics, which Levi needed just as much. It is a relationship that is more intimate that we are used to believing and one whose many facets can be a revelation.
On the occasion of the reading, a not for sale edition of The Mark of the Chemist: A Dialogue with Primo Levi has been printed in Italian by Einaudi.
“The Mark of the Chemist” on stage in New York
This year the 5th Primo Levi Forum, the international symposium by the Primo Levi Center in New York, has been opened on November 7th by The Mark of the Chemist: A Dialogue with Primo Levi, English language premiere of the dramatic reading of Primo Levi’s scientific writing, based on a selection of texts edited by Domenico Scarpa and presented by the International Primo Levi Studies Center of Turin on the occasion of ESOF 2010.
The reading was presented by the Primo Levi Center of New York and the International Primo Levi Studies Center of Turin, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Teatro Stabile of Turin.
On stage, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, John Turturro (as Primo Levi) and Joan Acocella (as the interviewer).
For further information, please visit the Primo Levi Center website.
The whole video of the reading is now available on Youtube.