Breakfast Plays: B!rth – Ouroboros

Swati Simha

Traverse Theatre

From 16 August 2017 to 25 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Project director Emma Callander directs the second play, which looks at the birth experience comes from in India and takes a very different approach from its British counterpart.

Ouroboros by Swati Simha is set in rural India where superstition is as highly valued as medical expertise.

In a primary health centre, it pits Nalini Chetty as a dedicated new doctor against Syreeta Kumar playing an ancient midwife with a belief in traditional techniques, which have nothing to do with science.

To add an additional aura of mystique, Neshla Caplan and Jamie Marie Leary portray two dead mothers inhabiting the doctor’s subconscious and even challenging her.

Their tale is one of botched sterilisations due to the sinister, underfunded national campaign “A small family is a happy one”. This plays out in tandem with a personal story of a sick mother and her foetus, only one of whom can survive.

Ouroboros offers a bleakly different look at Birth, making viewers focus on the consequences for motherhood and life expectancy of deprivation on the subcontinent.