e-baby in London


e-baby Catherine silhouette dress copy 2

Carolyn Bock as Catherine, and Sarah Ranken as Nellie, in the world premiere of e-baby at Chapel Off Chapel, Melbourne, in 2015.

e-baby will have its first full production in London from November 19-30 at the Brockley Jack Theatre.

Produced by independent theatre company Aequitas Theatre, e-baby will directed by Pamela Schermann, who directed the rehearsed reading of the play at the So and So Arts Club back in August 2015, and will star Rachael Bellis as Nellie and Kat Rogers as Catherine. Kat also played Catherine in the So and So Arts Club reading.

Aequitas Theatre Company, founded by Rachael Bellis, describes itself as a “female-led company pushing boundaries in London theatre”.

I am so excited that e-baby will be fully produced on the London stage for the first time and delighted that the So and So team is reuniting and combining with the team at Aequitas, bringing a wealth of talent and experience to this production.

When I was sitting in my bedroom in Singapore in 2012 watching surrogates online while researching the play, I never imagined that it would be performed at all, let alone in London.

Thanks so much to the wonderful Sarah Berger, Artistic Director and founder of the So and So Arts Club, for selecting the play for a reading in 2015, and to actor/director and dear friend Susie Penrice Tyrie for introducing us in Singapore.

e-baby has had production ever since its premiere at Chapel Off Chapel in 2015, and I am very grateful to the many artists who have contributed their talents and helped it grow and thrive.

If you are in London between November 19 and 30, please take this opportunity to go and see it.

e-baby tickets at the Brockley Jack, London

A kooky ukey fun night out!

Uked! now available for your group to produce

…after a sell-out season at GUILDFORD MUSIC HALL in June and NEWHAM MECHANICS INSTITUTE in August.

To apply for the show, contact




REBECCA MORTON as KARLA and PETE GAVIN as JEREMY lead the (fictional) Newstead Ukulele Troupe (aka NUTS) in Uked! at the Guildford Music Hall

A MUST SEE! Take your uke join in ,sing or smile along A GREAT NIGHT…Laughed a lot. – Michelle Robie, Castlemaine

Karla is brilliant!…Anyone whose ever been 50 will completely understand. – Neil Adam, Newlyn.


If you only get to indulge in one ukulele fantasy this year, make sure it’s this one. A great night out! – Kim Burns, Bendigo

Rebecca is brilliant as Karla and Pete does an equally amazing job performing nearly everyone else! Please do yourself a favour and go see this show.-  Kaye Nankervis, Eaglehawk


I’m very excited to be partnering with highly respected and successful theatrical agency David Spicer Productions, so that you can have as much fun as we did and produce the show yourself with your local theatre group and ukulele club. 

David came to Newham (near Hanging Rock) all the way from Sydney to see the show, which he describes as “a romantic comedy… with audience participation like no other”.

So what do you need? First of all you need a great leading lady with terrific comic timing to play Karla, like our leading lady REBECCA MORTON.

Rebecca learned to play the ukulele for the show, so it’s okay if your Karla is a beginner. It’s best to audition for your Karla and see who turns up from the wealth of musical theatre talent out there. 

Next you need a versatile and charismatic leading man to play all Karla’s YouTube teachers and dating interests, like our star PETE GAVIN, (who is a real-life ukulele teacher). 

OR – divide all those fun roles between your theatre and club members, doubling up if necessary. That gives everyone a go. 

Finally, you need a small band, with at least two members (percussion and base/lead) who can double in the cameo roles of Jeremy and Ruth.  

And of course you need a hall or theatre and some technical wizards to operate the sound and lights.

You pay a licensing fee (based on a percentage of the box office) to David Spicer Productions (my agent), and in exchange you get the script, a PowerPoint with the lyrics and chords for the sing-along songs, a marketing kit, artwork for you to print the giant chord banners for your hall, and the song book.

You need to apply for the rights for the songs through APRA/AMCOS, which is a simple process that will cost you around $264. 

Your local uke members can play Karla’s fellow ukulele members each night, or you can advertise for people to register, like we did. 

So that’s it. Oh, and you can change all the location names and the names of the ukulele groups to suit your location and provide some “in” jokes. 

If you’re an amateur group you can use ticket sales to raise funds.

Here’s some more info and the promo, with me squinting in the wind as David puts me on the spot at Newham to spruik the show. You can see why I’m not playing Karla!



Can’t produce the show yourself but would love to see it? We can come to you! Just find a suitable hall in your area and pre-sell the tickets and we’ll be there! Further details: jane.cafarella@gmail.com




d-baby – a four-hander coming-of age drama/comedy about a teenager searching for her true identity –  is now available online, published by Australian Plays.

Here’s the link:

d-baby by Jane Cafarella

d-baby was a finalist in the international playwriting competition New Works of Merit in 2018, based in New York, and has great roles for two teenagers and two women in their 60s.

Thanks so much to Australian Plays Literary Manager John Kachoyan, and Sarah Hamilton, Online Administrator, for their support for my play and for Australian playwrights generally.

As you’ll see, Australian Plays didn’t use the show image on the cover. I quite like the image they chose.

Which image do you prefer? Magnifying glass or snowflake? (You’ll get the meaning behind the snowflake image when you read the play.)

Australian Plays and Stage Scripts in the UK, both also publish my play e-baby, which is about the relationship between an infertile woman and the surrogate she hires..

d-baby is a companion play to e-baby, but not a sequel.

With its themes of nature-versus-nurture and ethical and religious conflict, d-baby is an ideal play for drama students and theatre companies seeking a truly contemporary play that combines drama and comedy.

Audiences love d-baby!

engrossing, moving, thought-provoking…  The characters were engaging… And the writing is consistently fine.

Peter Fitzpatrick, writer and Honorary Professor of Performing Arts at Monash University, and founder and Artistic Director of Melbourne Music Theatre.

I’ve never heard such an overwhelmingly positive reaction at a reading. The audience – 20 people – just loved the play, and many questions afterwards about when a production will be mounted. 

– Anne Cordiner, Actor, director and Board member, Tasmanian Theatre Company.

Congratulations, Jane Cafarella on your new play d-baby – another triumph. The rehearsed reading was brilliant.

– Angela Savage, author and critic

This was just some of the reaction at the rehearsed reading for d-baby in February at The MC Showroom in Melbourne.

D-baby logo work_FA

d-baby is a coming-of-age story with a difference. It’s about a teenager, Deidre Maeve Ryan (but she prefers Dee) who in searching for her true identity risks the love and support of the only family she has ever known.

Dee finds a kindred spirit in fellow student, Zac, who helps her find the courage to uncover the explosive secret that her mother, June, has been struggling to tell.

With compassion and humour, d-baby tells the story of a new generation of adults for whom answering the basic human question: “Who am I?” may be impossible to answer.

Above all, it’s about great characters striving for self-knowledge and connection in an increasingly disconnected world.

d-baby is set in the US, where commercial gamete trading is thriving.  The story is ficitonal but the events happen every day in the world of donor conception.

d-baby is the companion play to e-baby, but not a sequel. It seeks to answer the question that was raised at the Q&A for e-baby at Chapel Off Chapel in 2015: “But what about the child?”

Sincere thanks to my talented creative team lead by Director Alec Gilbert and featuring Cosimo Gilbert as Dee, Clare Larman as June, Nathaniel Karam as Zac and Elizabeth Walley as Tess, with voice overs by Greta Williams. Also, grateful thanks to my Executive Producer Robert Williams and co-producers Janet Dimelow and Sharon Carr. 

Expressions of interest invited!  jane.cafarella@gmail.com


Susanna Edwards (left) as Nellie, and Kimberlyn Wideman as Catherine in Natalia Kirychuk’s production of e-baby at Cedarville University, Ohio on October 26.



I’m thrilled to announce that e-baby, my play about the relationship between an infertile woman and the surrogate she hires, made its US debut at Cedarville University, Ohio, on 26 October 2018.

The play was produced and directed by Natalia Kirychuck, a theatre major a the university, as her Senior Project, featuring fellow students Susanna Edwards as Nellie and Kimberlyn Wideman as Catherine.

Admission was free with donations accepted to the Miami Valley Women’s Centre Xenia location.

In an article in the university magazine Cedars, by Lauren McGuire, Natalia said she came across the play when searching for two-women shows, and fell in love with it.

“These are some really heavy issues and I really want to bring them to light,” she told the magazine. “I just want to help people understand more about surrogacy and motherhood.

“The storyline itself is just so precious to me and so beautiful. I can’t wait for people to be able to see it and understand these issues more clearly.”


Natalia said she believed the production would “stir thought-provoking questions in the heart of the audience.

And she was right.

“It went so well,” she said after the show.  “We had a full house – we had to keep putting out more chairs and then people still had to stand!… The audience responded constantly with laughter, sniffling and sounds of agreement or disagreement.
“Afterwards, I got to talk to so many people and everyone enjoyed it. Several people who came said they were shocked this wasn’t performed in America earlier because it was such a good play. Everyone also commented on how they loved how you didn’t write it one-sided.
“I’m literally still having conversations about it. Everyone who I asked about it had thoughts on what the characters should do or what happened after the show. People had different theories, which was so cool to hear! In short – everyone loved it,” she said.
“And people said it made them think! That’s always the biggest compliment in my mind. Several young men told me they had never been faced with these issues and they now had to think through these issues. It made me so happy.”
It made me so happy, too!
Thanks so much Natalia, Susanna and Kimberlyn, your crew, advisers and mentors for bringing e-baby to its first American audience.


JUNE 21-30 2019




Uked! is the hilarious and poignant story of Karla, a lonely and eccentric single woman who is dumped by her violin-playing boyfriend on her 50th birthday. Desperate to belong and to prove her musical worth, Karla buys a ukulele and joins a dating site – learning that love and the ukulele have a lot in common.


Bring your uke and learn, sing and play along!

OR just sit back and enjoy the show


Help promote the show!

Expressions of interest are invited from passionate uke players, ukulele clubs, sponsors and investors. Contact Jane now!

0408 880 185 or jane.cafarella@gmail.com


A few years ago, I happened to park outside Malvern Town Hall when I noticed a sign: Doll Fair.

Recalling the doll fairs my daughter and I attended years ago, searching for tiny items for the dolls’ house we furnished together, I paid the $5 fee to enter.

There were the familiar tables full dolls of all shapes and sizes, dressed in exquisite detail.

But there was something missing: people.

“What happened to kill the doll market?” I asked one seller, as I watched the few visitors stroll past, mostly without buying.

“Minimalism,” she said, firmly. “I’m into bears now.”

But judging by the lack of custom at the bear stall, even bears were struggling.

It’s true, I thought later. It was hard to imagine these dolls and bears finding a home in the sparse and neutral homes that are still featured on lifestyle shows and in real estate ads today.

The popularity of minimalism is understandable. It stems from our global guilt at the destruction of the planet and our desperate desire for some sort of control in the face of uncontrolled consumption. It stems from the need to counter the complexity of modern life through the creation of soothing simplicity in the retreat we call home.

But neutral pallets also neutralise people. Where are the books? Where is the music? Where is the art and the craft – homemade or otherwise? Where is the miscellaneous stuff that tells people who you are?

In the process of “de-cluttering”, we are ignoring what makes us human – the need for connection, engagement and identity through beauty, creativity and culture.

Perhaps the intention is that we may still have beautiful things – just not too many?

But intentionally or otherwise, self-proclaimed minimalists like Americans Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (theminimalists.com) lead by example, and the online tours of their homes reveal bare walls and an institutional starkness that is a reminder of how totalitarian regimes stripped people of their identities.

In his defence, Fields Millburn writes: “No, I’m not opposed to paintings on my walls, but I also don’t feel obligated to hang a frame on drywall to feel complete. I am complete, as are you, even in an empty room. “

Such shaming language ignores the complexity of our humanity. We don’t choose art or ornamentation because we are personally inadequate without it, but because it brings joy, stimulation and meaning to our lives. Our “stuff” not only completes us, it reflects us.

A café or restaurant that simply offered a table and chair and menu, with no décor or ambience, would be deemed lacking character. Why should it be different for our homes?

Beauty and culture also encourage emotional investment in our environment. Chicago Potter Theaster Gates, who has helped revive neighbourhoods through reclaiming abandoned buildings for community use, says beauty is the inspiration and motivation for community and engagement.

“In my city, Chicago, I have seen firsthand what happens when a focus on, say, housing, fails to account for our human thirst for beauty, for the sublime, the emotionally enriching, the spiritual, “ Gates says in an article titled Why Beauty Matters on Ted.com.

Possessions are also reminders of the people who made them and used them, and our shared history.

This is no more evident than in the popular Antiques Road Show, where the value of an item is always increased if there is a story attached.

In May 2016, the Roadshow visited Lyme in the UK, where a lithograph of Sarah Bernhardt that was once owned by Elton John was featured. The picture was purchased in 1988, when the singer auctioned many of the items from his married life before coming out.

As the valuer explained, “He saw it as a way of saying goodbye to the man he pretended to be: this front, this theatre.” In short, it represented a change of identity.

But our stuff doesn’t always have to be commercially valuable to be of value.

As Stephanie Land said in an article in The Straits Times on July 24 2016 titled Why the poor cannot afford to be minimalists, “My stuff was not just stuff, but a reminder that I had a foundation of support, of people who had loved me growing up: a painting I had done as a child that my mum had carefully framed and hung in our house, a set of antique Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls my ferret once chewed an eye out of when I was 15, artwork my mum had collected over the decade we lived in Alaska.”

The evangelistic language of minimalism claims that “freedom” can only be obtained from ridding ourselves of things.

But there is freedom in choosing individuality over conformity, and in recognising the difference between materialism and being stripped bare.

What do you think? Comments welcome.





Last week I went to the supermarket. On the way home, I received a text. “How was the supermarket? Rate your experience.”

I was puzzled. How did they know?

I dismissed it, and shopped on – to the baker, an antique shop, a Manchester shop, and a party shop.

Further texts followed. “How were the baker, the antique shop, the Manchester shop, and the party shop? Rate your experience.”

Then I realised. I’d used Google Maps to find the addresses of all these shops and now I was being recruited for feedback and promotion.

The same thing happened after two lots of furniture delivery and a visit from a telephone technician, and when we hired a car. “Please rate us!” they begged.

I ignored these too, but I soon received a reminder. “How did we do? Reminder to rate your recent install appointment.”

As my friend Karen said, shopping these days is like going on a school excursion – you have to come home and write an essay on it.

As the silly season is now in full swing, the number of business interactions increases – as do the requests for reviews – in a cycle of endless obligation. You are not a shopper, but a “member” –  of their marketing team.

Even the most private of activities requires a public reaction. “Please rate your experience,” a screen at the airport loo asked as I left.

And the  most humble of purchases. “Do you have a profile with us,” the shop assistant asked when I purchased some hand cream.  I paused, and  leaned in. “It is not my job to market your business,” I said, and held out my hand for the change.

But there are some times when a review is helpful. Like after a recent manicure for a family wedding.

It was busy, but I was soon ushered over to two girls sitting at a narrow table, their tools of trade  spread neatly on a grubby white towel in front of them.

I sat down, glad to rest after a busy day. Wordlessly, one of the girls picked up a cuticle nail pusher in one hand and my right hand in the other and began jamming the nail pusher into the nail bed.

“Yowzie!” I yelled, and instinctively pulled my hand away. “Could you be a bit more gentle?”

She and her colleague exchanged glances and murmured a few words as she swapped the nail jabber for a large nail file, full of the residue of other people’s DNA, and flicked it hard against the side of my nail in violent upward motions, like chalk across a blackboard.

I leaned in again. “Could you act like you give a fuck?” I said. They exchanged confused glances. “Like you care, “ I explained.

I felt bad, I really did. I reminded myself that they were probably both on some dodgy visa sending money back to their home countries to support a dozen siblings and cousins and their aged parents.

But as they each grabbed one hand and continued on fast forward, stabbing and dabbing at my nails in turn, I began to think about what I would say when I received the text asking, “How was the grubby nail spa sweat shop? Rate your experience.”

But in the end, I didn’t say anything, then or later. I just paid and left.  Maybe they were students and this was the only work they could get? Perhaps they were horribly exploited, and then treated badly by entitled old women like me? Perhaps they had a good reason not to give a fuck?

When I got home, there was a reminder to rate the delivery guy. Feeling contrite and remorseful, I decided to be a nice person and write the delivery guys a review. A glowing review. .

“They were heroes,” I wrote, my thumbs flying. “It was a 35-degree day and the sofa wouldn’t fit in the lift, so they carried it up two flights of stairs. And then it wouldn’t fit in the door, so they carried it down again and took it back.”

Soon after, I received another text. “Thanks for the great review, but we don’t deliver sofas. We deliver beds.”

Wrong heroes. That was the other delivery company.

And there in lies the truth about reviews. Not only are they annoying, they are rarely accurate, as proved by the Journal of Consumer Research in April 2106.

Research titled Navigating by the Stars, by Bart de Langhe, Philip M Fernbach and Donald R. Lichtenstein, concluded that there was a “substantial disconnect between the objective quality of information that online user ratings actually convey and the extent to which consumers trust them as indicators of objective quality”.

In other words, a one-star review for the ubiquitous and aggravating system of reviews.

So here’s some advice to the persistent review seekers. Leave us alone.

If something happens that impresses us as consumers, we’ll let you know the old-fashioned way – by coming back.


9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Trust Online Reviews



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