The Last Breath

by Anita Sullivan and Ben Fearnside
The Last Breath lungs in bell jar


'The Last Breath' is an original documentary-drama for Radio 4.

Artist Ben Fearnside concieved '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, 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 by Karen Rose of Sweet Talk productions. It was broadcast on Radio 4 on July 6th 2012

Duration: 44 minutes.


Ben Fearnside and Kenny Watson

Recording 'The Last Breath' at The Motorcycle Showroom in Bristol. Ben Fearnside sits in the 'Sudden Oak Death' electric chair by Kenny Watson (right). Lightning-rod and dovetails crafted by Ben Fletcher.

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