Breath of Life by David Hare

The West Coast Premier

The Breath of Life explores the relationship between two women whose lives are connected, in ways neither truly understands, by one man. Madeleine Palmer, a retired curator living on the Isle of White, and Frances Beale, a woman, who in her 60s, is achieving success as a popular novelist, spend and evening together which explores their hidden pasts and changes the course of their futures.  Written by David Hare, this brilliant tour de force originally starred Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

Nominated for a San Francisco Critics Circle Award
Best Female Performance for Phoebe Moyer


“Smoothly written and superbly performed… Phoebe Moyer gives a compelling performance … Susan Maeder is excellent.  This is an evening of fine acting in a sophisticated sitcom with some very poignant moments.”
— Richard Conmema, Talkin’ Broadway

Playwright David Hare
Venue NOHSpace
Address 2840 Mariposa Street, San Francisco
Director Stephen Drewes
Cast Susan Maeder
Phoebe Moyer*
Other Credits
Performance Dates May 21 – June 6, 2010**
*Phoebe Moyer is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association
**The June 6th matinee performance is sponsored by Margy Boyd Art Tours

David Hare (Playwright) had his first play, Slag, produced in 1970. Hare worked with the Portable Theatre Company from 1968-1971. He was Resident Dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, London, from 1970-1971, and in 1973 became the Resident Dramatist at the Nottingham Playhouse, a major provincial theatre. In 1975 Hare co-founded The Joint Stock Theatre Company with David Aukin and Max Stafford-Clark. Hare began writing for the National Theatre and in 1978 his play, Plenty, was produced at the National Theatre, followed by A Map of the World in 1983 and Pravda in 1985, co-written with Howard Benton.  David Hare became the Associate Director of the National Theatre in 1984, and has since seen many of his plays produced, such as his trilogy of plays Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, and The Absence of War.  Hare has written screenplays such as Plenty, Wetherby, Strapless, and Paris by Night.  Hare’s awards include the BAFTA Award (1979), the New York Critics Circle Award (1983), the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear (1985), the Olivier Award (1990), and the London Theatre Critics Award (1990).  He was knighted in 1998.

Stephen Drewes (Director) a fifth-generation San Franciscan, accepted his first directing assignment in 1975 for The People’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA. He has since directed more than 85 productions in every genre from children’s theatre to grand opera. He has been a member of the faculty at Middlebury College, Boston University, and Colgate, and taught at CCSF for twenty years. He was Artistic Director of the Publick Theatre in Cambridge MA, where three of his productions won Boston Critics Awards for Direction. He was also resident stage Director for Pocket Opera. He co-founded Spare Stage in 2008, and won a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for his direction of THE UNEXPECTED MAN in 2009.

Phoebe Moyer (Frances) is winner of five Dean Goodman Choice Awards and seven Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards.  She has performed at the American Conservatory Theatre, Theatre Works, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Pacific Stage Alliance Company, Marin Theatre Company, Cinnabar Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, Aurora Theatre Company, TheatreFirst, Willows Theatre Company, Woodminster Summer Musicals, Woman’s Will, Hapgood Theatre, and Calaveras Repertory.  Ms. Moyer, when not performing, is a freelance director, voice-over artist, and acting coach, and is listed in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”

Susan Maeder (Madeleine) was born in Cincinnati and moved to Chicago after receiving her BA in Theatre Arts at Barat College. After several years abroad where she lived in Geneva and Amsterdam, she moved to the Bay Area, finally settling in Mendocino in 1981 where she picked up her acting career.  She has been cast in dozens of leading roles over the years at the Mendocino Theatre Company and the Warehouse Repertory Company. Favorite roles include Timothea in Sea Marks; Judith in Hay Fever;  Susan in Women in Mind; Gertrude in Hamlet; Vivien Bearing in Wit; and most recently, Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories.  In 1991 she played Elinor of Aquitaine in Lion in Winter, directed by Stephen Drewes.  She has written and performed two one-woman shows — Black Tulips (1994, 1996) and Singing Back (2008). Her volume of poetry, “White Song,” was published by Pot Shard Press in 1998.  The Breath of Life is her first appearance with Spare Stage.

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