Radio drama. By Nicholas A. Patricca
Cast: 8 to 11 actors, flexible gender, playing multiple roles. An Uncertain Hour is a memory play telling the story of the transformation of Primo Levi, an Italian-Jewish chemist, into a writer because of his experience in Auschwitz. The memories of the Holocaust constantly interrupt and overwhelm the consciousness of Primo Levi causing him to see himself as a spiritual kin of the ancient mariner who had no choice but to voice his tale "at an uncertain hour" to anyone who would listen. 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. It 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. Approximate running time: 90 minutes.