Today we meet Guillaume Pigé , Artistic Director of Theatre Re, who is here to tell us more about ‘Birth’. This powerful production explores the bond between three generations of women, through unspoken tragedies and unconditional love.
Can you introduce yourself and your show?
My name is Guillaume Pigé. I am the Artistic Director of Theatre Re and the Director of BIRTH.
BIRTH is a powerful, poignant and uplifting visual theatre piece with live music exploring the bond between three generations of women, their shared loss and the strength they discover in each other.
What is the top reason people should see the show?
I think there are many reasons why people should come and see BIRTH but, if I had to choose one, I would say that they should come because it is different.
It is a piece of theatre and we follow the life journey of Sue, Katherine and Emily, three generations of women from the same family. It is a concert with live music throughout the show. It is also a wordless physical and visual piece of dance and mime with elements of magic and illusion.
Ultimately, our aim is to communicate the story of Emily’s family and we use everything we can to make it altogether thought provoking, humorous, heart-breaking, uplifting and life affirming.
What does a ‘successful Fringe run’ mean to you?
To me a ‘successful Fringe run’ means that we finish the Fringe!
Also that we come out of it with a stronger piece of theatre and a stronger team. I tend to think that a show is never really finished until it has had a run at the Edinburgh Fringe. So many things happen during this very intense month to us as individuals and to us as a team, so it is about enabling all these experiences and shared moments to find their way into the work and help it to grow.
What 3 top tips have you got for Edinburgh Fringe first timers?
See as many shows as you can, sleep and stay dry!
The subject-matter of ‘Birth’ is an extremely emotive one; one which you describe as an ‘often considered taboo subject. ‘ Yet it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth. You are bringing this ‘taboo subject’ into the open with the show. What conversations do you hope that starts?
I think theatre is a very good training ground for what happens or what can happen in life; as if it provided a large scale dress rehearsal for life. From that point of view it will be interesting to see how BIRTH can help develop people’s empathy for those who have experienced such a loss. It will also be important to see how the work can have a cathartic impact on audience members who have, and then how that might help them starting a discussion about it.
However, it is important to say that BIRTH is not a show about pregnancy loss. It is about life, family and what is it that you inherit from your parents and grandparents. It is our answer to the question: when does memory begin?
What key message do you hope comes across to your audiences?
I hope people come out of the theatre feeling uplifted and reminded about the beauty and extraordinary fragility of life.
To understand the subject you spent 15 months engaging through interviews and workshops with women and families who have experienced pregnancy loss. Talk us through that journey.
At the very beginning of our research, we did not know that we would be exploring pregnancy loss as part of this project. We wanted to explore the world of secrets within families. We all drew our family trees and shared it with the rest of the team. The aim was to unravel parallels between our own lives and the lives of our ancestors, and how issues or traumas might have been subconsciously passed down from one generation to the next. It allowed us to identify similarities within our families… One of them was pregnancy loss and how it was always kept a secret.
To explore the subject of pregnancy loss specifically, we first collaborated with Anyone Everymum (organisation supporting women and families in their journey through birth). Along with sharing their expertise, knowledge and experiences, they took us through the various steps they use in their sessions with women. Many discoveries made during these workshops were then developed and worked into the piece. Some of them are invisible, others led to the devising of full scenes. This collaboration also helped us to create the right atmosphere around the work and helped guide our research.
Later in the process we also engaged with Aching Arms (a nationwide baby loss charity run by a group of bereaved mothers) and were able to get an insight into what it means to lose a life. Their feedback on the work helped us ensure that our piece was a faithful representation of what some women and families go through without being patronising nor sentimental.
Another key theme of ‘Birth’ is ‘memory’ and the secrets kept and memories shared between generations. Do you think we are more open on this subject now as a society or is pregnancy loss still a taboo, private subject still kept a secret from other family members?
When a child is born, a family is created and BIRTH is very much about that; about the important moments that are part and that have been of family life for generations. It is also about the smaller moments; the moments that we sometimes forget, but that meant so much at the time.
How are you promoting your show in the run up to the Fringe?
We will be doing interviews with all the members of the creative team. These will be published on our blog and on our social media channels:
We will also be performing at the Latitude Festival in mid-July in the Theatre Arena, the exact date is still to be confirmed. More info can be found here.
Lastly do you want to tell us where and when we can see the show?
Absolutely! We will be on at 12:00 (13:15) every day from 1st – 25th August (except 12th) in Pleasance Beyond. All the info can be found here
Birth will be performed daily at 12:00 at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Beyond / Venue 33) from August 1st-11th and from August 13th-25th. Tickets available from the Fringe Box Office.