Archive for August, 2017

A coming-of age story about the search for identity

During the Q & A for my play e-baby in Melbourne on International Women’s Day 2015, the question raised by the panel and the audience was: “But what about the child?”

This was a deliberate omission in e-baby, which is about the relationship between an intended parent and the surrogate she hires in the US.

But I always thought it was a question worth exploring, so for the past six months I’ve been working on a new play –  a companion piece to e-baby – appropriately named d-baby.

d-baby is the story of a 17-year-old-girl who discovers she is donor conceived and sets out to search for her donor. Like e-baby, it is a comedy-drama, but a stand-alone piece, not a sequel.

d-baby is a mythic tale about the universal search for identity that draws parallels between how the Gods in Greek mythology played with the lives of humans, and how the technology enabled by the medical community plays with the lives of humans today.

Set in present-day Boston, Massachusetts, it is about coming of age in an era where for many people it is increasingly complex and difficult to answer the basic human question: who am I?

As with e-baby, d-baby presents both sides of the debate through the different perspectives of the characters.

Both plays are set in the United States, as the commercial gamete-trading industry and the resulting religious and ethical dilemmas provide greater potential for dramatic conflict –and a cautionary tale for what might happen in other countries if commercial donor-conception is legalised.

A play featuring fictional characters but based on real events also allows the issue to be presented and discussed without having to expose and distress real people.

I chose to write a play rather than an essay or a journalistic article because the issue can be more fully explored in a play, which allows the audience to empathise with the characters and become emotionally involved in the story.

Theatre also has the power to transform an audience through a shared experience. Ultimately, d-baby seeks to entertain as well as shine a light on a largely unseen world.

The play currently is in development and has the support of a director and has also attracted the interest and support of some in the donor-conceived community both in Australia and the United States,  but is looking for a producer, with the aim of a 2018/19 production.

For more information or production inquiries, please email me at jane.cafarella@gmail.com


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