A four-hander drama comedy, d-baby is a tender, funny and contemporary coming-of-age story about a donor-conceived teenager searching for her true identity.
Combining great roles for two teenagers and two women in their 60s, d-baby makes creative use of technology, including Skype, text and email in a truly modern story of our times. The story is fictional but is based on true events that happen every day in the world of donor conception.
The play draws parallels between Dee’s situation and the play she is studying at school, Ion, by Euripides, and the challenge posed by the Oracle of Delphi: know thyself.
Written as a companion play to e-baby, but not a sequel, it is about a group of people for whom the fundamental human question, “Who am I?” may be impossible to answer.
d-baby is a play about secrets, so it is fitting that it has a few secrets of its own.
I’m still toying with images for this play. The blue snowflake image above alludes to a key reference in the play. The magnifying glass image shows that it is a mystery. Which do you prefer?
Dee, 17, knows there’s something odd about her mother’s story about her absent father, so when she meets fellow Senior Zac, 18, at school she is intrigued to discover he is donor conceived and wonders if she is too.
Secretly, with Zac’s help, she begins to search for information and is stunned when she finds what appears to be a donor profile hidden in an ancient family Bible. Why has her mother, June, a passionate Humanist who believes you can be “good without a God”, kept this from her?
Desperate to know more, but fearful of upsetting June, Dee persuades Zac to search for their donors together under the guise of a group assignment, unaware that June is secretly preparing to tell her explosive secret.
Together they unravel a tapestry of interwoven myths, secrets and lies. When Dee confronts June and learns the truth, her anger turns to compassion. The truth has set her free, but must now come to terms with her mysterious and complex new identity.
Setting: Boston, Massachussets, (suitable for intimate stages and black boxes)
Running time: 120 minutes with interval
DEIDRE (DEE) MAEVE RYAN, 17, a Senior at Medford High School, Boston
JUNE RYAN, 57, Dee’s mother, a copy editor at the Boston Herald
ZAC RUBENSTEIN, 18, a Senior at Medford High School
TESS TARANTO, 56, an art teacher at St Anne’s School, Brooklyn
SOME M AND F VOICE OVERS.
2018 SINGAPORE, table reading- Singapore American School, directed by Laura Schuster, with the support of Susie Penrice Tyrie.
2018, August, SYDNEY, rehearsed reading of climatic scenes, Script in Hand, Sydney, directed by Joy Roberts, with Amber as Dee and
2019, MELBOURNE, rehearsed reading, The MC Showroom, directed by Elizabeth Walley, with Cosima Gilbert as Dee, Nathanial Karam as Zac, Clare Larman as June and Elizabeth Walley as Tess, with voice overs by Alec Gilbert and Greta Williams, with co producer and marketing manager Sharon Carr and co-producer Janet Dimelow.
d-baby research and advice: The Victorian Assisted Reproduction Treatment Authority (VARTA)
2019, HOBART, rehearsed reading Hobart Repertory Theatre, Tasmania, directed by Anne Cordiner.
2020, LONDON, rehearsed reading scheduled So and So Arts Club (postponed due to Covid-19)
Nominations and awards
Finalist in the 2018 New York-based international playwriting competition New Works of Merit.
Semi-final list in the Gary Marshall Theatre’s 2018 New Works Festival in Burbank California.
Listen to the interview with Alana Newman, producer of the podcast Dealing with Donor Conception, Episode 15, December 2019:
For script purchase or production inquries