Which play is of just three minutes, and who wrote it?

1 Answer

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

According to one source, Samuel Beckett's verrry short work, Breath, is the shortest play ever written. It lasts a total of 35 seconds. Typically avant-garde, the curtain opens with a stage covered in trash while a child (who is never seen) takes its first breath. The play ends barely a half-minute later with a final breath and a cry--the stage still covered in trash. Beckett seems to be saying that we are born in a trashy world, live, and then die in the same world of refuse.

First performed in New York City in 1969, the same year that Beckett won the Nobel Prize for literature, Breath was directed by Oh! Calcutta's Kenneth Tynan, who added some nude female bodies among the garbage. Breath

... 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."