- The shortest play ever written is almost certainly Samuel Beckett'sBreath (1969), which lasts about 35 seconds. It has no dialogue oractors, using recorded sounds and changing lighting to depict life fromthe cradle to the grave. The piece begins with a newborn baby's cry and endswith the dying gasp of an old man. Breath was 'written' on the back ofa postcard for Kenneth Tynan's 1969 revue Oh, Calcutta! butsubsequently withdrawn when Tynan attempted to incorporate mass onstage nudity.Other notably short plays include Harold Pinter's Mountain Language(1988: 12 minutes) and The New World Order (1991: 8 minutes). seealso longest plays.