Jewish Book Week 2023 Saturday 25 February - Sunday 05 March | Tickets now on sale

Case Histories to Drama: Sacks, Pinter & Friel

Tristram Powell, Honor Borwick, Michael Billington, Guy Leschziner, Alexis Zegerman

Chair: Mark Lawson

04/03/2023 7:30 pm
Kings Place, Hall 1

Ticket Price : £25.00

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In 1973 renowned British neurologist Oliver Sacks published a collection of beautifully crafted case histories, Awakenings.  An instant success, it inspired many writers and artists. Via performance and commentary we explore two outstanding examples, Harold Pinter’s A Kind of Alaska and Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney, with reference to Sacks’ original case history.

Scripted by Tristram Powell and produced by Honor Borwick this is their seventh specially commissioned production for the festival. Previous celebrations of Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala have featured Alison Steadman, Toby Jones and Celia Imrie; a star cast will be announced nearer the time.

Following the performance, journalist, broadcaster and author Mark Lawson will chair a discussion on Oliver Sacks, Harold Pinter and Brian Friel with Michael Billington, former drama critic of the Guardian and author of a biography of Harold Pinter; consultant neurologist and author Dr Guy Leschziner; and playwright and actor Alexis Zegerman, whose plays include The Fever Syndrome.

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Tristram Powell

Tristram Powell is a film and television director whose credits include adaptations of Philip Roth’s The Ghost Writer and Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Falling.

Honor Borwick

Honor Borwick has worked in the theatre, publishing, independent television and film, theatre, and radio as a script editor.

Michael Billington


Michael Billington was drama critic of The Guardian from 1971 to 2019 and before that a critic of theatre, film and television for The Times. He is the author of several books including a biography of Harold Pinter; a prize-winning study of post-war British theatre, State of the Nation; an analysis of The 101 Greatest Plays; and most recently, a selection of his criticism entitled Affair of the Heart. He also broadcasts frequently and has taught several theatre courses for American academies including the University of Pennsylvania.

Guy Leschziner


Dr Guy Leschziner is a consultant neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, where he leads the Sleep Disorders Centre, one of the largest sleep services in Europe, and a reader in neurology at King’s College London. He also works at London Bridge and Cromwell Hospitals. Alongside his clinical work, he is the presenter of the Mysteries of Sleep series on BBC Radio 4, is editor of the forthcoming Oxford Specialist Handbook of Sleep Medicine (OUP), and is Neurology Section editor for the next edition of Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (Elsevier).

Alexis Zegerman


Alexis Zegerman is a playwright and actor. Her plays include The Fever Syndrome (Hampstead Theatre, MTC/Alfred P Sloan commission), Holy Shit, (Kiln Theatre),The Steingolds, (NT Studio, finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Lucky Seven (Hampstead Theatre), Noise (Soho Theatre, Westminster Prize.) She was writer-in-residence at the Hampstead Theatre and Paines Plough and is currently under commission with Manhattan Theater Club/Bobbie Olsen, National Theatre, and Hampstead Theatre. Alexis also writes across film, TV and radio, winning the Prix Europa for her original BBC radio drama Deja Vu. Her latest film, Arthur's Whiskey, has been greenlit with Diane Keaton playing the lead. As an actor, Alexis has worked at the National Theatre, the Royal Court and the West Endmost recently appearing in the original cast of Tom Stoppard's Leopoldstadt. She won a British Independent Film Award for best supporting actress for her role in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky. Photo cr. Mark Douet

Mark Lawson


Mark Lawson is an English journalist, broadcaster and author. Specialising in culture and the arts, he is best known for presenting the flagship BBC Radio 4 arts programme Front Row between 1998 and 2014. He is also a Guardian columnist, and presents Mark Lawson Talks To… on BBC Four.

The Jewish Chronicle


Jewish Book Week 2023 is proud to partner with the Jewish Chronicle, the world's oldest Jewish newspaper.