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Artistic Fraud: Between Breaths

Artistic Fraud: Between Breaths

Location: Imperial Theatre

Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Show Starts: 7:30 PM

Tickets: $35 adults / $30 subscribers

Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland
Artistic Director Robert Chafe
Between Breaths

Well known in Newfoundland as the Whale Man, Dr. Jon Lien during the course of his work pioneered techniques for rescuing whales entrapped in fishing nets. Often risking his very life in the water with the formidable and frightened animals,

Dr. Lien would seek to earn their trust as much as the fishermen’s. He looked for the best way to free whales while doing as little damage to the fishing gear as possible. His efforts saved the lives of over 500 animals, and earned him the hard-won respect of the island’s fishermen. Despite his risky work, Lien’s biggest fight came at the hands of a lengthy illness, the suspected long-term result of a random highway accident. He passed away in 2010, but not before his body was slowly conquered over 8 years by a progressing immobility and dementia.

Between Breaths jumps time backwards, from the final moments of Lien’s life – in a wheelchair and dealing with brain damage – to his very first whale intervention. As his life becomes further and further confined, his mind stretches itself in memories of release and salvation. 

Written by Robert Chafe
Directed by Jillian Keiley
Original Music Composed & Arranged by
The Once (Phil Churchill, Andrew Dale & Geraldine Hollett)
Additional Arrangements by Duane Andrews
Musical Direction Kellie Walsh


Jon – Steve O’connell
Judy – Berni Stapleton
Wayne – Darryl Hopkins

Brianna Gosse, Steve Maloney & Kevin Woolridge

Dramaturgy Iris Turcott
Additional Dramaturgy Sarah Garton Stanley
Assistant Director Sharon King-Campbell
Costume Design Shawn Kerwin
Sound Design & Technical Director Brian Kenny
Production Manager & Stage Manager Mara Bredovskis

Managing Producer Patrick Foran
Production Assistant Nefren Feizo-Gas

Robert Chafe has worked in theatre, dance, opera, radio, fiction and film. His stage plays have been seen in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and in the United States, and include Oil and Water, Tempting Providence, Afterimage, Under Wraps, Between Breaths, and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (adapted from the novel by Wayne Johnston.) He has been shortlisted twice for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and he won the award for Afterimage in 2010. In 2018 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the playwright and Artistic Director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland.

Jillian Keiley was the founding Artistic Director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and became the Artistic Director for The National Arts Centre English Theatre in 2012.  Her productions at the NAC included Andy Jone’s Tartuffe, Oil and Water, Colony of Unrequited Dreams, A Christmas Carol and Twelfth Night. She is the winner of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre and holds two honorary doctorates, from York University and Memorial University of Newfoundland.  Following this production, Jillian will direct The Neverending Story for The Stratford Festival 2019 season.

Over the past ten years The Once has been quietly making a name for themselves in their native Canada. The Newfoundland-based band has collected a trio of Canadian Folk Music Awards, been named Newfoundland & Labrador Art Council’s Artist of the Year and earned a Juno nomination for best Roots/Traditional album. The Once are rooted in essential musical elements – Geraldine Hollett’s incandescent voice, the trio’s gorgeous harmonies and the spirited acoustic instrumentation supplied by Andrew Dale and Phil Churchill.

Duane Andrews is a St. John’s based musician active as a composer/arranger in a variety of styles. His orchestrations and arrangements have been performed by ensembles such as Symphony Nova Scotia, the Calos Youth Orchestra, the Gower Community Band, the Shallaway and Lady Cove choirs and the Earhart Ensemble which he founded in 2016.

Kellie Walsh is the Artistic Director of Shallaway Youth Choir and Founder and Artistic Director of Lady Cove Women’s Choir. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in both music and music education from Memorial University as well as a Master’s degree in choral conducting. Kellie’s work has brought her across Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the USA, South America, Europe, and Asia. From deep and proud roots in Newfoundland and Labrador, she has become well-known in Canada and internationally for embracing the medium of choral singing as an opportunity to explore leadership potential, identity building, and social/civic engagement.


JON – Steve O’Connell has appeared in a string of theatre and television pieces. He most recently appeared in The Ennis Sisters’ video California Wine. Steve thanks his wife Michelle for her continued love and support. He also thanks the Lien family, for once again allowing him to share their husband and father with the world.

JUDY – Berni Stapleton is a Newfoundland- Labrador writer and performer of unique distinction. She was just listed on the Playwrights Guild of Canada Sure Fire List of top 23 plays from female playwrights in Canada for her play “The Pope and Princess Di.”  She is the recipient of the 2018 Arts and Letters best dramatic script for her one woman play Dolly. Her new memoir is called Love, Life. To read her blogs and see her available plays visit

WAYNE – Darryl Hopkins is from Terra Nova. He holds a BFA from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (MUN), where he received the Tommy Sexton Triple Threat Award. In the past few years, he has been the recipient of two International Best Actor awards for his performance, in Noel Harris’ film Touch. He has a huge catalogue of theatre and television credits. One can find Hopkins’ music online@


Since the release of her debut album AERA, Newfoundland native Brianna Gosse has taken the east coast by storm. Her sophisticated songwriting paired with powerhouse vocals have earned her nominations from the East Coast Music Association and Music NL, taking home album of the year in 2014.

Steve Maloney is a tender balladeer known for his velvet-tinged baritone and expansive range. Recipient of the 2018 Borealis Music Prize and winner of three 2017 MusicNL awards (Alternative Album, Country Album, and SOCAN Songwriter of the Year). Maloney was the Dawson City Music Festival’s 2017 Songwriter in Residence.

Kevin Woolridge has been a Newfoundland-based theatre artist for over twenty years working both on and off the stage.  This past year he launched his micro theatre project, The Temporary Theatre, directing his play And Then the Rain Came. Most recently he performed his one man mask show, Broken, at the Festival of New Dance.  Kevin holds a BFA (Acting) from Grenfell College and an MFA (Directing/Creation) from York University.

ADDITIONAL DRAMATURGY  Sarah Garton Stanley – Artistic Fraud: Fear of Flight, Afterimage, Oil and Water, Between Breaths, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Other Theatre: Associate Artistic Director, English Theatre, Canada’s National Arts Centre, Curator for The Collaborations and The Cycle(s); Co-Creator of SpiderWebShow Performance and #FoldA Recent directing: Unsafe (Canadian Stage) Out the Window (Luminato Festival, Theatre Centre) Bunny (Tarragon Theatre, Stratford Festival), Kill Me Now (RMTC/NAC) Helen Lawrence (Can Stage, BAM, Kammerspiele etc,) We Keep Coming Back (Factory Theatre, English Theatre Berlin, Nowy Teatr, Warsaw, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre etc.,) Sarah will never get over how lucky she is to work with Robert and Jill.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – Sharon King-Campbell is a director, actor, playwright and storyteller who grew up in Ottawa. Now based in St. John’s, she has recently directed The Stars are Always Brighter When the Lights Go Out (Best Kind Productions), transVersing (Artistic Fraud/FTLOL), Shake It Up (Shakespeare by the Sea), Woman, Naked (Girl Power), Sexy Laundry (New Curtain Theatre), The Good Body (Nothing On Productions), and Give Me Back (skc originals/FTLOL). She was in Ottawa in 2018 to direct Cymbeline with Bear & Co, and is so pleased to be home again with Between Breaths.

COSTUME DESIGN – Shawn Kerwin is an award winning set and costume designer based in Toronto. She has designed sets and costumes for theatres across Canada as well as in the United States and England. She is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Theatre, York University. Shawn recently completed the Interdisciplinary Design Strategy Postgraduate Certificate at the Institute without Boundaries, George Brown College.

SOUND DESIGN & TECHNICAL DIRECTOR – Brian Kenny is a designer for theatre from Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador and is a graduate from The National Theatre School of Canada, The Banff Centre for the Arts, and Sheridan College as well as a co-founder of Mindless Theatrics in St. John’s. Brian is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

PRODUCTION MANAGER & STAGE MANAGER – Mara Bredovskis is a St.John’s based Stage Manager and Production Manager.  Artistic Fraud: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Between Breaths. Other credits include: Once (Theatre St.John’s), Offensive to Some (PerSIStence Theatre Company) Isle of Demons (PerSIStence), As One (Opera on the Avalon), Mamma Mia (TSJ), Dead Man Walking (OOTA), Hunger (White Rooster Theatre), Bolt Out of the Blue (Wonderbolt Circus), and four seasons at the Grand Bank Regional Theatre.

MANAGING PRODUCER – Patrick Foran is the Managing Producer for Artistic Fraud.  He is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School and Memorial University’s Faculty of Business Administration. He is co-Artistic Director of Double Sure Theatre, co-founder of the St. John’s Short Play Festival, and chair of the Association of Professional Theatre of NL. Recent acting credits include Kafka in Her Closely at the Festival of New Dance and Nail Biter at St. John’s Shorts.

A note from the playwright:

I was recently asked what was different and challenging about writing this play. For sure I’ve written about real people in the past and the research process has taken me into people’s homes all across the province and beyond. I’ve sat and recorded people talking about loved ones, telling intimate stories about real lives that have come and gone, and I’ve been gobsmacked by the generosity and trust. The big difference with Between Breaths was the timing. I approached the Lien family with idea of writing this play back in 2012, a mere two years after Jon’s passing. Despite their still fresh grief, Judy, Elling and their family opened their doors and their hearts to me, as did Jon’s colleagues and friends. They all did so with the firm intent that Jon’s great legacy continue to be celebrated.

Beyond all else, I hope this play serves that purpose. Between Breaths was developed with assistance from ArtsNL, St. John’s City Arts Jury, and the Banff Centre’s Playwrights Lab, 2015. My thanks to all those who lent their time and their stories to Between Breaths: Judy Lien, Elling Lien, OJ Lien, Wayne Ledwell, Wayne Barney, Peter Hennebury, Bill Montevechhi, Holly Hogan, and Danielle Devereaux.


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