Only Child

Created by Andrew Toovey, The Pitch 2014

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'Only Child' is a drama exploring how grief can either divide or unite a couple. On her son's tenth birthday, as Eva makes preparations to leave the gypsy community forever, she recalls the events that have led her to the brink of sanity: the ammunition for what she is about to do. She remembers the miscarriages she suffered with her first husband, Yuri, due to his fertility problems. Only when the gypsy leader, Davro, took a lustful interest in her, did she conceive a healthy baby. But to cover his wrongdoing, Davro had Yuri killed. So when she finally did give birth, Eva could only see the her husband's murderer in the eyes of her firstborn son. Now, living in fear as Davro's wife, she gathers what she and her son will need for their final journey. Davro wakes prematurely, and follows her truck, to find she has parked it, with the exhaust fumes diverted into the cab using a hosepipe. He pulls her out, forcing her to confront her grief, her guilt and the awful truth: that her son died at birth. As the air clears between them, there is hope, as they realise they can share their grief.

Biblical Connection

'Only Child' explores the aftermath of David's adultery with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11, but from Bathsheba's perspective. It is inspired by 2 Samuel 12:24 - after the son they conceived together dies, 'Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba.' They were a couple who should never have been a couple - the king-cum-murderer and his friend Uriah's wife. What did David say to comfort Bathsheba? Did Bathsheba blame David? Or did she consider herself partly responsible? Judging from her warnings against the adulteress to her son Solomon in Proverbs, Bathsheba's life was profoundly marked by the affair with David. She never lost sight of the damage it caused. There is no record of Bathsheba having children with her first husband Uriah, which led to the idea of Yuri's fertility problems and how that plays out in the story. And we don't know how long it was until Solomon was born. I wanted to explore those gaps in the text, to imagine how this couple might have moved from bitterness and blame, to comforting in grief. Ultimately it is a story of hope - of moving on, of sharing pain together, yet not forgetting a little life, however brief.