Breath of Life
Breath of Life
Music by J. Todd Frazier
Libretto by Michael Remson
Inspired by real events, people and situations, J. Todd Frazier conceived of the story of “Breath of Life” in response to watching his father, Dr. O. H. Frazier, perform a successful heart transplant procedure at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, TX. Informing the central themes of the work were interviews and conversations with recipient Reverend Robert Browne and surgeon Dr. O. H. Frazier. The work responds to aspects of the procedure that defy science, challenge spiritual views from both the Judeo Christian Religion and Shinto Faith, and require “leaps of faith” from all involved.
Written in Honor of Dr. O. H. Frazier and Dedicated to the Memory of
Ruth Popper, Rev. Bob Browne, Claude Duthuit and James Bowers.
Support provided by the Powell and McNair Foundations of Houston, TX and
The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
Setting: Houston, Texas, A hospital, 1981. The Set: Four main areas. Downstage center is the Operating Room. There is appropriate electronic machinery, including a bypass machine, heart monitor, and defibrillator, all surrounding a gurney. Directly above it and further upstage on a raised platform, is the Observation Deck with several chairs. The area furthest downstage should remain clear and free of obstruction. Upstage right is the Hospital Chapel. A large cross, not depicting the crucifixion, is seen suspended. Beneath and behind it, a prie dieu for kneeling in prayer (facing the audience) can be seen. Further upstage, chairs and/or a pew. While it is not as sterile as the rest of the surroundings, it should be utilitarian, nothing more. Upstage left is the Patient’s Room and a small adjoining Vestibule (located between the O.R. and Patients Room). The Patient’s Room is white, if possible, and includes a hospital style bed, a table next to it and a chair for visitors. The room should also include machinery for monitoring the progress of the patient, including an intravenous stand/bag and heart monitor. It is central to the effectiveness of the set that these areas appear sterile. The set should represent a clinical detachment from the emotional events that take place within it.