“How do you untangle a forty-foot whale from a fishing net? Very carefully.”
Dr. Jon Lien is a risk-taker and respected researcher, working for over twenty years in the dangerous waters off Newfoundland to rescue massive humpback whales and save the fishing gear in which they’re trapped. With his head down in freezing waters and armed only with a snorkel and knife, Lien saves the lives of over five hundred animals and earns the hard-won respect of Newfoundland’s fishermen. But his toughest battle comes at the end, as his body is slowly conquered by a relentlessly progressing paralysis and dementia.
Between Breaths moves backward in time, from Lien’s final moments to his very first whale intervention. As his life becomes further and further confined, his mind stretches back in memories of release and salvation. Based on a true story, Robert Chafe crafts a raw portrayal Newfoundland’s “Whale Man” in this beautiful and poignant play about the parts of ourselves we hold on to after everything else has gone.