The Last Breath

An original improvised documentary-drama for Radio 4. Co-created with Ben Fearnside

Artist Ben Fearnside conceived 'The Last Breath' in 2001. He planned to capture someone's dying breath in a jar and exhibit it in a gallery. The play creates this concept in audio form. As Ben prepares for 'The Last Breath', reporter Anita records the process for a radio documentary.

 

The drama was all improvised. There was no script, only a storyline. All the contributors (apart from Nicola Walker) were friends or professional associates of the artist, all non-actors. They included a philosopher, a medical physicist, an artists' agent, a reverend, a psychiatrist, a collective of concept artists and the Ben's family. The relationships, personal histories and responses were genuine: only the scenario was fictitious.

Scenes were created by Anita Sullivan and Ben Fearnside, with Derek and Mo Fearnside, Ben Fletcher, Professor Emma Jones, Anthony Chopper White, Linda Keenan, Dr Mark Gretason, Kenny Watson, Alex Allan, Joseph Watts and Robert Perry. 'Nicky' was played by Nicola Walker.

Music was written and performed by Nick Tettersell.

'The Last Breath' was produced and dramaturged by Karen Rose of Sweet Talk Productions. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 July 2012