The Breath of Life A Play

David Hare

Faber & Faber



Trade Paperback

96 Pages


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"Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge."

Gauguin's epithet serves as the motto for this moral tale of two woman, both in their sixties, whose lives are interwoven in ways neither of them yet understands. Madeleine Palmer is a retired curator, living alone on the Isle of Wight. One day to her door comes Frances Beale, a woman she has met only once, who is now enjoying sudden success, late in life, as a popular novelist. As we come to find out that Madeleine Palmer is the ex-wife of the man who was Frances Beale's lover, the single night that comprises this fascinating play mirrors the hidden course of both their lives.

David Hare has been described by the London Times as "Britain's leading contemporary playwright" and by the New York Post as "one of the few major playwrights in our language."

The Breath of Life premièred at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, in October 2002.


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David Hare is the author of more than a dozen plays, including Via Dolorosa, The Judas Kiss, and Skylight.
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  • David Hare

  • David Hare is one of Britain's most celebrated and internationally performed playwrights. He enjoyed a long association with Britain's National Theatre, which produced eleven of his plays between 1978 and 1997. Hare's other plays include Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence of War, The Secret Rapture, Amy's View, and Via Dolorosa.