“The burrow”: surviving the death of a child

«Le terrier»: survivre à la mort d’un enfant

Photo: Valérian Mazataud The Duty
The actresses Rose-Anne Déry and Sandrine Bisson play sisters in the play “The burrow”. One is pregnant, another has just lost her child, who was four years old. All are grieving in different ways.

How to find your place in the world — as a man, as a woman, as a couple — after the death of his child ? In The burrow, a play that is about to take the poster Duceppe, in a staging by Jean-Simon Traversy, American David Lindsay-Abaire ask this question with as much relevance or sensitivity, in a remarkable balance of smiles and tears, a family portrait of a wonderful complexity.

Created in New York in 2006, Rabbit Hole won a Pulitzer prize for its author in 2007, and then was adapted as a film in 2010 by John Cameron Mitchell, with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in the lead roles. In 2016, Rose-Anne Déry and André-Luc Tessier asked Yves Morin to translate the text, based on the company Blackboard, and produced the piece in the salle Fred Barry du theatre Denise-Pelletier.

“What impressed us,” recalls the actress, even more than the severity or depth of the topic, this is the way frank, courageous, simple and straightforward with which all of this is discussed. The characters are touching because they are not devoid of humor. Their relationships are poignant because they do not get bogged down forever in the melodrama. “

This quality, this kind of skinning, Rose-Anne Déry assures us that she will always be at the rendezvous on the big stage of the théâtre Jean-Duceppe : “there have been a few technical adjustments in regards to the game as well as the set design, but nothing more. We wanted to maintain what we consider to be the profound nature of the work. “

When the room starts, there are eight months since Becca and Louis lost Danny, their only son, four-year-old after he was hit by a car. At its first reading of the text, Sandrine Bisson, who plays the mother, bereaved, remembers having been taken to the throat. “On the second page, I braillais already,” she says. My first challenge, as an actress, so it is not to cry. I have to be closer to what Becca through it, understand its collapse, but everything coming to me out of its trouble, to go to the top of his or her sentence, remain in the margins of his pain. “

The second challenge, ” explains the actress, it is to embody the character by adhering to a kind of nakedness, a restraint dictated by the author — in a letter which accompanies his text, Lindsay-Abaire expressly requires that Becca not shed tears only once in the representation — but also by the director, who calls a game type that is more restrained than much of the drama could inspire in others. “I have full confidence in the words, says Bisson, but also to the quiet, to turn inwards, or even to silence. “And then she adds while laughing :” In regards to myself, let’s say that it is a kind of counter-employment. “

Overcome the grief

Each of the five characters in the play overcomes the grief as it may be, undertakes in its own way a patient process to resilience. While Becca wants to erase everything that reminds her of her boy, she opts more often for the imprisonment, her husband Louis (Frédéric Blanchette) represses his sadness and his anger. Around them, there is the sister of Becca (Rose-Anne Déry), pregnant, his mother (Pierrette Robitaille), and even the teenager involved in the fatal accident (André-Luc Tessier), which will come to its way to put a balm on the wounds of Becca. In the face of humanity, such a mixture of suffering and reconciliation, rage, and forgiveness, a real roller coaster, the viewer has no other choice than empathy.

On the second page, I braillais already. My first challenge, as an actress, so it is not to cry. I have to be closer to what Becca through it, understand its collapse, but everything coming to me out of its trouble, to go to the top of his or her sentence, remain in the margins of his pain.

— Sandrine Bisson

“The progress of the parents is good,” says Déry. We see them coming from far away, a journey over several months in order to achieve a bit of relief, a kind of light. To tell the truth, the piece exposes a wide variety of ways to get across the grief. I think it gives people the permission to live it their way. “Sandrine Bisson deplores the fact that death is even at this point such a taboo in our time and in our society :” While grief is universal, that all the world will be confronted one day or the other, we talk about so to say never. “

In this sense, the show plays a not insignificant role. “I have received emails from people who have lived stories similar to that of the characters, we learn Déry. They write to me that the room was good, that she has been channeling something, that is to say, a certain catharsis has operated. More than giving meaning to the death, the important thing, as we explained to the psychologist that we invited to meet us, it is to restore a sense of meaning in life after the death occurred, in sum, to find a meaning that was believed to be lost. “

Bisson adds : “The psychologist also told us that it was essential to realize this that was given to us by the passage of the be gone. What is it we learned ? That is what he bequeathed us ? What is it that makes that we will continue to live with him inside us ? “

It could be discussed

To feed the discussion around this crucial topic and a delicate one, Duceppe is organising a public exchange in the margin of the representations of the Terrier. How to survive the loss of a child ? How to support bereaved parents ? What effects the loss of a child can have on the relationship of the parents ? What place should I leave the memories ? What are some of the questions that will be discussed on 15 February, from 17 h. Prendont part in this event : Pierre Bruneau and Ginette St-Cyr, who have lost their son, Charles in 1988, Hélène Lévesque and Michèle Viau-Chagnon, the Lighthouse children and families, and Johanne de Montigny, psychologist. Moderated by Denis Lévesque, the discussion is presented free of charge. Reservations required.

The terrier

Written By : David Lindsay-Abaire. Translation : Yves Morin. Directed by : Jean-Simon Traversy. The théâtre Jean-Duceppe from 13 February to 23 march.

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