On the Exhale

An Audible Original
Narrated by: Polly Frame
Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
4.1 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this savage and devastating rumination on fear, tragedy, loss, and revenge, Polly Frame’s captivating, gut-wrenching performance in playwright Martin Zimmerman’s unpredictable one-woman show will leave you breathless.

A humanities professor at a liberal arts college is terrified of what she feels is an inevitable act of violence, fearing that one day, she will be the victim of a disgruntled student’s aggression. As a single mother, no one matters more than her little boy. So when a senseless act of violence changes her life forever, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the very weapon used to perpetrate the crime—and to the irresistible feeling of power that comes from holding life and death in her hands.

A play that The New York Times called startingly original, this Edinburgh First Fringe Award-winning production was staged in the UK by China Plate and Audible, in association with New Theatre Royal Portsmouth in August 2018. A compulsive and visceral examination of gun violence, On the Exhale is stunning, jarring, and unforgettable.

Note: Be aware that this audio drama contains mature language, content, and themes that may be upsetting for some audiences. Listener discretion is advised.

©2018 Martin Zimmerman (P)2018 AO Media LLC

Our favorite moments from On the Exhale

Obediently waiting in its holster
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Of course she wouldn’t understand.
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Haven’t you forgotten something, dear?
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  • On the Exhale
  • Obediently waiting in its holster
  • On the Exhale
  • Of course she wouldn’t understand.
  • On the Exhale
  • Haven’t you forgotten something, dear?

The mesmerizing performance of Polly Frame...still, matter-of-fact and measured, her delivery is gripping in its economy and hits home like a bullet.

- The Guardian
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About the Author

Martin Zimmerman is a multi-ethnic, bilingual playwright and screenwriter. His plays, which include Seven Spots on the Sun, White Tie Ball, The Making of a Modern Folk Hero, and The Solid Sand Below, have been awarded several prestigious honors including the Terrence McNally New Play Award and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ACTA New Play Award. His works have been produced and performed at venues ranging from The Kennedy Center to the Goodman Theatre to the New York Theatre Workshop. Zimmerman, who has an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, has also worked extensively with Netflix on original programming—he is billed as the creator and showrunner of Puerta 7, a producer on Ozark, and a staff writer on Narcos.

About the Performer

Scottish actress Polly Frame has starred in over thirty stage productions and dozens of television, radio, and film performances. A classically trained thespian from Bristol University, Frame’s theater credits include performances of Macbeth (both on Broadway and West End), Henry V, The Odyssey, Twelfth Night, Thick as Thieves, Jekyll & Hyde, and The Count of Monte Cristo. On television, she has had roles on shows varying from Disney’s Bunnytown to BBC One’s EastEnders, and her film careers boasts parts in Macbeth (2009), Half Light (2006), and Duplicity (2004). Her show-stopping portrayal of Martin Zimmerman’s protagonist in On the Exhale is her first venture with Audible—an acclaimed performance honored with the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award.

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What listeners say about On the Exhale

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

🔫#GunSense⚰️⚖️

Wow. This an important topic, for sure, and the writing is decent. The plot at first seems dreary/depressing, but then it heads off into an unexpected direction and becomes more interesting. I thought the message was coherent, nuanced, and effective. Except for the NARRATION! Oh, holy ****, this has to be the craziest narration I’ve ever heard. The narrator veers wildly between agitated, pouty, laughing, whispering, slurring her words like a dysarthric or a drunk (“trunnuh”/trying to; “nugunuh”/not going to) and near-sobbing, often within the same sentence, and don’t even get me started on the accent. It’s not midwestern United States; it’s not British; it’s not Eastern U.S.; it’s not even that affected hybrid put-on posh accent that actors refer to as Mid-Atlantic. It’s just mid...Nutty. What geographical region spawns a vowel quadrilateral so tiny that almost all vowels are produced as a schwa (“bodduh”/ body; “everbudduh”/everybody; “nuh wuh”/no way)? I’m off now to Google this wacky narrator and see WTF might be going on with her speech. Grade: C (graded down from B for the nearly unlistenable narrator) P.S. For a truly GREAT performance of a much better play exploring some of the same themes, try Girls and Boys, performed by Carey Mulligan.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 11-13-18

A Crackling Performance

Polly Frame gives a performance, and it is a performance rather than a narration, that will at times send shivers down your spine. Backed by a sparse but extremely effective soundscape Frame delivers this short play with real vigour. I wasn't totally taken in by the story but in this very brief production there were a couple of moments that sent real chills down my spine. The ending is extremely good and the journey there is quick and emotional. Okay it is very short but I felt has the quality to make it more than worthwhile.

4 people found this helpful