The Surrogate

Created by Catherine Maher, The Pitch 2012

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The Surrogate is told from Hagar's, the servant maid, point of view. She is beholden to her employers, which means she has little recourse when they take advantage of her vulnerable status. Like many immigrants she has no legal right to work here. However the messy situation, which evolves from Hagar getting pregnant by the husband, is not simply that of victim/persecutor. Hagar sees that the baby might be a bargaining tool she can use to improve her status. In this she is disappointed, as once the wife herself gets pregnant, Hagar and her son are surplus to requirements and are cruelly discarded. In the end Hagar makes a new life for herself and her son far from wealthy Kensington. The film is a poignant drama with Hagar, the protagonist, played by an actress and not improvised as in the video. I bring to the project not only my creative vision as a writer and producer, but also life experience as a mother and teacher. I will show how the protagonist does not always help herself, as the difficult relationship between the two women develops. And of course Abraham, the husband, really should have seen all this coming…

Biblical Connection

Setting the story of Hagar, Abraham and Sarah from the book of Genesis in the present day, is a great opportunity to explore our human failings and appreciate how little has changed in 5,000 years, when it comes to coping with the fall-out of getting what we think we want. History is full of stories of people yearning for children, and today couples undergo harrowing medical procedures - and use surrogates. A powerful woman in the ancient world decided on this course, only to fall pregnant herself afterwards. It prompts us to consider our attitudes to human life and the human body – baby trafficking, the selling of organs and AI. In the ancient world surrogacy was accepted practice, but clearly it was still emotionally fraught. The relationship between the two women is interesting. Hagar forgets her low status and angers her mistress. Abraham seems to feel himself caught in the middle. Maybe he should have been more patient. The ones really caught in the middle are the two boys, Isaac and Ishmael, two brothers who are not permitted to be friends. They are at the heart of much of the present-day conflict in the middle-east.