33 - Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies : B - Drama
T - Other
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This audio drama adaptation of Primo Levi’s volume of stories The Periodic Table is submitted for double-weighting as a creative output which investigates its core themes – the problematics of narrative, witnessing, memory and historical knowledge – in depth and from a number of different perspectives. It adopts a range of contrasting dramaturgical modes to adapt and refocus the source text in a body of work of considerable duration – 12 plays, amounting to 5.5 hours of broadcast material, and demonstrates a sustained research effort.
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This dramatisation of Primo Levi’s collection of short stories used meta-dramatic and performative elements of radiophonic dramaturgy to address the problematics of witnessing, memory and historical knowledge, issues also explored in conventional research publication (peer-reviewed critical journal articles listed in submission). Levi’s collection employs a range of fictional modes to explore the relationships between science, history, autobiography and the legacies, both personal and public, of the Holocaust through the indexical memory prompt of the Periodic Table itself. The dramatization investigated the shifting role of storytelling and fiction in relation to the apparent objectivity of historical truth and scientific method, adopting contrasting and often reflexive dramaturgical modes to focus on the problematics of witnessing and memory which the source text presents. In brief example it presented, in Argon, the ghost voices of past ancestors in dialogue with each other over the operations of memory; in Carbon a reflexive consideration of memory represented in narration through the radiophonic composition of scenic effects; in Vanadium it staged a debate over how the impact of the past might be negotiated, reflected in the story being split into two parts heard over a time ellipsis. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (18th-26th July 2016), the production was also made available for a year as a series of podcasts (a ground-breaking innovation for the BBC). It gained approximately 17,000,000 listeners, reached #3 on the British iTunes podcasts charts, and charted for 32 weeks overall. It was previewed on the website of the Centro Internazionale De Studi Primo Levi and discussed on social media by a range of organisations concerned with cultural, historical and scientific matters, including the Royal Institution; the Royal Society of Chemistry; the Institute of Materials; the Holocaust Educational Trust; Penguin Classics and a variety of schools, colleges, groups and individuals.