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Friday, August 28, 2009

“The Breath of Life” is Playhouse Final Play of 2009 Season

The Westport Country Playhouse announced today that its sixth and final play of the 2009 season will feature Jane Alexander and Stockard Channing in Sir David Hare’s “The Breath of Life,” running Sept. 29 through Oct. 17. WestportNow.com Image
Jane Alexander and Stockard Channing will star. Contributed photos

Mark Lamos, named artistic director in February at the Playhouse, will direct.

“The Breath of Life” was first produced at the Theatre Royal in London in 2002 in a production directed by Howard Davies and starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

“I saw ‘The Breath of Life’ when it premiered in London and was seduced by its quietly profound and wonderfully intelligent depiction of two women who share an obsession that has deeply affected their lives,” said Lamos.

“When I accepted the offer to become artistic director at the Playhouse a few months ago, it was one of the first plays I thought about producing here.”

Lamos said the play will star two of America’s most distinguished and gifted actresses—“actresses who can bring these two women to life in all their vulnerability, wit and despairing irony.”

He added, “This is a play that is as much about two women as it is about the culture that shapes them; the men and the mistresses and the politics that have driven their lives to this dramatic, stunning moment.” 

“The Breath of Life” is a tale of two seasoned women, whose lives are interwoven through their relationship with a pivotal, yet offstage, male character, Martin.

Madeleine Palmer, played by Alexander, is a retired curator, living alone on the Isle of Wight.  One day to her door comes Frances Beale, played by Channing, a woman she has met only once, who is now enjoying sudden success, later in life, as a popular novelist. 

Over the course of one day and one night, the two women reflect on their lives and their relationship with Martin, their joint obsession.

Jane Alexander received a Tony Award for Broadway’s “The Great White Hope,” and Tony Award nominations for “Honour,” “The Sisters Rosensweig,” “The Visit,” “First Monday in October,” “Find Your Way Home” and “6 Rms Riv Vu.”

She also received a Drama Desk and Theatre World Award for “The Great White Hope” and an Obie for “The Sisters Rosensweig.”

She is a four-time Oscar nominee for the films “Testament,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “All the President’s Men” and “The Great White Hope.” On television, she won an Emmy Award for the movie “Playing for Time” and a Television Critic’s Circle Award for her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt in “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.” 

Stockard Channing’s extensive theater credits include “Joe Egg” (Tony Award, Drama Desk nomination), “Hapgood” (Drama Desk nomination), “Love Letters” (original cast), “Woman in Mind” (Drama Desk Award), “The Rink,” “The Golden Age,” “They’re Playing Our Song,” “Little Foxes,” and her work in “The Lion in Winter,” “House of Blue Leaves” (Drama Desk nomination), “Four Baboons Adoring the Sun,” and “Six Degrees of Separation” (Drama Desk nomination) earned her four Tony Award nominations.

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Posted 08/28/09 at 04:47 PM  Permalink



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