Photo Flash: Portland Center Stage Presents THE BREATH OF LIFE

Portland favorites Gretchen Corbett and Sharonlee McLean take the stage beginning May 4 to star in David Hare's The Breath of Life, a two-woman play The Daily Telegraph called "bitingly funny." When Francis Beale (McLean) decides she wants one last word with her ex-husband's ex-lover (Corbett), both women are forced to confront their past, their failed relationships, dashed ideals and the lens through which they choose to view their futures. Ken Rus Schmoll (readings in six of the last ten JAW Festivals at The Armory, productions at Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop) will direct.

Corbett (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 2018 JAW Festival at The Armory) initially proposed this nuanced, character-driven play to Portland Center Stage at The Armory and did an early reading of the script with McLean (The Receptionist and 25 others at The Armory). "It's like doing Shakespeare, or Checkhov," Corbett said of Hare's script in a recent Artslandia interview. "He's a spectacular writer, and that you get that opportunity to work with a really accomplished writer - as an actor - it's such a privilege ... He's a funny, smart playwright."

"It's hard," McLean said of tackling this script. "It goes into the human condition of who we are as people. In one shape, or one degree or another, we've all had these types - not the exact experience -but certain relationships that are similar. For me, it's about the process of letting go, having enough guts to ask the questions and get the answers, moving on with life."

The Armory will host post-show discussions with members of the cast and creative team at matinee performances on May 16, 18, 23, 30, June 1, 6, and 15.

Photo Credit Patrick Weishampel/

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