A new play exploring the life of holocaust survivor and revolutionary thinker, Primo Levi, will premiere at the Tristan Bates Theatre this November in an attempt to share Levi’s message of humanity, togetherness and perseverance.


Niall Dingle and Theatre Alive! present

Drowned or Saved?

A new play by Geoffrey Williams

Tristan Bates Theatre, 6 – 24 November 2018

Press Night Invitation – Thursday 8 November 2018, 8pm


Primo Levi has become recognised around the world as one of the greatest, broadest thinkers of modern times. Born in Turin in 1919, Levi was an Italian Jew transported to Auschwitz in 1943, at the age of 24. Against all odds he survived the camp, but at what cost?


Drowned or Saved? depicts Levi as he reflects on having written some of the most significant documents the world has ever seen. The works which detail the horror of his survival are of substantial historical interest because of the composed neutrality of their author. The superhuman effort to maintain such a calm penmanship in spite of such inhumane horrors is brought to the stage through a cross-world journey that pulls from the memories which haunt Levi and unavoidably bring the characters from his past to life.


In this poignant, potent play peppered with cheeky Yiddish humour, RADA alumni and former Associate Director at the York Theatre, Geoffrey Williams, debuts this vital new script at a time rife with wild and extreme political debate.


Italian-born actor Marco Gambino will play Primo Levi alongside an international cast including: Paula Cassina, Alex Marchi and Eve Niker in the world-premiere of Drowned or Saved? at the Tristan Bates Theatre this  November. The piece is designed by Baśka Wesołowska with lighting design by Matt Leventhall and sound design by Rachael Murray.


South African playwright and director, Geoffrey Williams, said:


“I had already been reading accounts of Holocaust survivors when I came across Levi. Levi’s account was so clear, that it gave me a precise view of what was – more so than some of the other more emotional accounts. This is not to say that any account is good or bad, it’s just that Levi gave me insight that I didn’t feel I was getting elsewhere. As we lose survivors, it’s important for new generations to understand and make sense of the Holocaust in their own way. We must keep the narrative alive and safeguard against anything close to a repetition in the future.”


Speaking about a rehearsed reading of the production earlier this year, acclaimed author of Primo Levi’s biography, Ian Thomson, said:


Drowned or Saved? opens a window onto Primo Levi’s moral universe in a way that is respectful of both the man and his writing. Auschwitz happened once; Auschwitz can happen again. It is very difficult – even potentially indecent – to turn a life such as Levi’s into theatre. But this play is no mere entertainment; it makes you think, and think hard, and that is more than enough.


The official Trailer for the show is available to view and embed here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6D4oFZzTew





For further information please contact Josh Brown on

07800 845 342 or [email protected]
Images available here | Follow the play here | Tickets & Booking info here




Drowned or Saved?

Written and Directed by Geoffrey Williams



Marco Gambino – Primo Levi

Alex Marchi – Elijah; Rabbi; Paweł; Höess; Alex; man on train

Paula Cassina – Lucia; Mrs Giordanino; Vanda

Eve Niker – Null Achtzehn



Set & Costume Design by Baśka Wesołowska

Lighting Design by Matt Leventhall

Sound Design by Rachael Murray              

Produced by Niall Dingle and Theatre Alive!


Tristan Bates Theatre

1A Tower St, Covent Garden WC2H 9NP

More info & tickets here –



Performance schedule:

First performance: 6 November 2018

Press night: 8 November 2018

Final performance: 24 November 2018


Evening performances at 8pm

Matinee performances on Saturdays at 2.30pm

Matinee performances on Sundays at 3pm


Box Office details:

Website: https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/drowned-or-saved

Telephone: 020 3841 6601

Email: [email protected]


Follow Drowned or Saved? on Twitter here




Notes to Editors



Marco Gambino (Playing: Primo Levi)

Marco is an Italian-born actor and has been working extensively in the UK and abroad for over 20 years. Marco has appeared in popular Italian and British television series including Young MontalbanoEmmerdale, The Boss of the Bosses, Squadra antimafia and is currently starring in the first TV comedy ever produced by Fox Italy Romolo e Giuly. Films include The International, currently filming il Traditore by Marco Bellocchio. Marco is also known for a number of monologues which have toured internationally and that he interprets in more than one language including Words of Honour, Othello’s GuiltMaria Callas the Black pearl. Marco is currently collaborating with the playwright Ryan Craig on a new English adaptation of Words of Honour for both the British and the American stage.


Paula Cassina (Playing: Lucia / Mrs Giordanino / Vanda)

Paula is a multidisciplinary Brazilian artist. She trained as an actor at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City and at the Giles Foreman Centre for Acting in London where she graduated as an Actor/Director. She also studied and worked as a visual artist in the Middle East for seven years. In 2017 she produced a double bill titled Strindberg’s Women featuring Creditors and Miss Julie at the Etcetera Theatre, in which she adapted and directed Miss Julie. Early this year she translated and produced a debut reading of Razor in The Flesh by Plinio Marcos at the Brazilian Embassy in London, where she played the character of Neusa Sueli. Her credits as an actress include the The Oresteia, Dying for It, Ghosts, Present Laughter, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters and Orpheus Descending.


Alex Marchi (Playing: Elijah / Rabbi / Paweł / Höes / Alex / Man on train)

Alex is a trilingual Italian-English-German actor born in Bolzano (Italy) and trained at Drama Studio London. Alex major stage credits include: Adolph Fischer in Haymarket! (Actor’s Church, 2018), Caravaggio in Caravaggio: Between The Darkness (Ed Fringe 2017). Alex can be seen as the Newspaper Photo Editor in Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World (2018) and also featured in many other independent film productions.


Eve Niker (Playing: Null Achtzehn)

Eve has trained at both RADA and RCS. Her recent credits include playing Juliet in Romeo & Juliet (RADA, dir. Lindsay Kemp), White Witch/Susan in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Scripts for Supper), FORGET (ITV World Cup Commercial), Olivia in Twelfth Night (Blue Elephant Theatre), BLONDE (RADA Festival), The Secret Garden (UK & Ireland Tour), Cassandra in Women of Troy (Festival of Ancient Drama, Greece). She has performed two physical Solos at Sadler’s Wells and worked with companies such as GECKO, Pina Bausch and The Royal Court.


Geoffrey Williams (Playwright & Director)

Geoffrey is a freelance theatre director and playwright, based in London. Originally from South Africa, he came to the theatre after a life in psychology. Geoffrey’s directing work includes Five Card Stud (2017) as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival, The Other Place (2014) at the GBS Theatre and Innocent As A Child (2012) as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. He has assisted on productions such as The Restoration of Nell Gwyn (2014) at York Theatre Royal, The Railway Children (2014-2015) at the Kings Cross Theatre and Told Look Younger (2015) at the Jermyn Street Theatre.



Ian Thomson (Primo Levi’s biographer and renowned writer)

Ian Thomson is an award winning biographer, translator, reporter and literary critic. His books include Bonjour Blanc: A Journey Through Haiti, The Dead Yard: Tales of Modern Jamaica and Primo Levi: A Life. Ian Thomson writes for numerous newspapers and journals, including The Observer, The Spectator, The Guardian, The London Review of Books and many others. In addition to his writing, he teaches at universities in the United States, France and Italy, and he is senior lecturer in Creative Non-Fiction at the University of East Anglia.