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The Breath of Life

David Hare

“I refuse to let the man in my life define me!” Although the long night-time conversation between two women revolves around one man who was the husband of one of them for twenty five years and the other’s lover at the same time, that man (who has by now disappeared with a third woman to the four winds) is only a pretext for the get-together of these women. Two women in their 60s look back at their life in a long night-time conversation to make sense of themselves, their choices, their needs, and of their own self. Long years of love and pain, affection and betrayal – why did you make precisely those decisions, what were you expecting and striving for, have you really understood yourself?

Madeleine, a retired museum curator and expert on Muslim art, lives reclusively on a little island when one day, her fragile peace of mind cracks: Frances wants to talk with her. Frances, who has just made a name for herself as a novelist, is writing a book about a love triangle that her ex-husband, a lawyer by profession, created, the third party of which is Madeleine.

David Hare, the author of Breath of Life, wrote in the programme notes for the first production of his play: “You can no longer call it middle age, and you certainly can't call it old age. It's something in between... I wanted to describe two women at exactly that moment; a long past behind them, but the expectation of a considerable future in front of them.”


Breath of Life made it to the stage at the Royal Haymarket Theatre in London in 2002. Two grande dames of British theatre, Judi Dench (Frances) and Maggie Smith (Madeleine), met on stage.

Premiere 13 June 2017 at the Laitse Granite Villa.

Director Aleksander Eelmaa
Art Director Liina Unt (Endla Theatre)
Music Designer Garmen Tabor (guest)

Cast: Laine Mägi and Kaie Mihkelson

Dates Start time Kirjeldus Stage