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Breath


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A: Samuel Beckett Pf: 1969, New York Pb: 1970 G: Scenario in 1 act S: Stage with litter, indeterminate period C: NoneA faint light shines on a stage littered with rubbish. There is a faint cry and an inhalation of breath as the light increases. Finally, there is an exhalation as the light fades, followed by a cry.

A: Samuel Beckett Pf: 1969, New York Pb: 1970 G: Scenario in 1 act S: Stage with litter, indeterminate period C: None

This 35-second scenario is the most minimal piece of modern theatre and probably Beckett's most notorious. When Kenneth Tynan was planning his erotic revue Oh! Calcutta!, he asked for a contribution from Beckett, and this was the result. Breath (which Tynan livened up by placing some naked female bodies amongst the rubbish) is a stage realization of Pozzo's words in Waiting for Godot: ‘They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.’ Damien Hirst created a memorable television version, with an island of rubbish, much of it medical in origin, floating in space.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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