So Little Gained, So Much Destroyed – An Assassin’s Tale

His name is Gavrilo Princip. He is the young assassin who shot and killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the murder that started the First World War. This one-hour play with live music explores his life, his legacy and the world he left behind. It was changed forever.

My name is Oliver Yellop and I am the writer and performer of I am Gavrilo Princip. We know very little about Princip.

Oliver Yellop

All we really have of the man is his birth certificate, a collection of school reports that described him as “a gifted student”, and the court transcript from the trial of the crime that made him famous.

What I tried to do with Princip’s story was to create a narrative on the man that was. To fill in the gaps left by history with his hopes, his ambitions, his dreams, his home and his heart.

Gavrilo Princip was never meant to be in the history books.

Gavrilo Princip in prison

The man he murdered however was destined to be remembered. Franz Ferdinand was the heir to The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the next in line to head Europe’s most powerful and prestigious dynasty – The Hapsburgs.

The two of them couldn’t have been more different. When Franz caught Princip from the corner of his eye, for however long it was, the man might as well have come from Mars.

When these two men became barely an arms width away from each other history changed forever.

The play finds Princip in purgatory, not good enough for heaven, not bad enough for hell. He’s telling his story to no one over and over again. Lost and forgotten but somehow still here.

What I hoped to achieve with this piece was to explore the ever-so human fact that we sometimes do things with the best intentions and end up with the worst possible results.

The cost can be so high and the gain so low.

Princip, like any of us, has no right to be forgotten. And despite the controversy of his life he will always have a story that is worthy to tell.