e-baby

A two-hander drama-comedy, e-baby is a powerful, funny, heart-wrenching story of our times, shining a light on the intimate and unspoken relationship between an infertile woman and the surrogate she hires.

Katie Robertson as Nellie, and Jane Longhurst as Catherine, in Tasmanian Theatre Company’s award-winning production of e-baby.

It features two outstanding roles for women and makes creative use of Skype, text and email, in keeping with modern communication and as a metaphor for the technology that enables surrogacy.

Audiences emerge hotly debating the central question posed by the play – how far would you go to have a child? The story is fictional but is based on true events that happen every day in the world of surrogacy.

Genre: drama/comedy (with some music)

Setting: Boston, MA, London and New York (suitable for intimate stages and black boxes)

Running time: 90 minutes, no interval

Cast:

CATHERINE, 45, an expat Australian lawyer living in London, married to Harry, (unseen)

NELLIE, 28, first-time surrogate and mother of two, living in Boston, Massachusetts, married to Mike (unseen).

Synopsis

Catherine is a 45-year-old Australian lawyer living in London who has everything: a husband, a career and an international life – everything except a child.

After seven years of IVF treatment in four different countries and four years of trying naturally, she has come to the end of the line.

As a last resort, she hires Nellie, a married mother of two boys, living in the surrogacy-friendly state of Massachusetts – just a short flight from the New York law office where Catherine regularly commutes.

Nellie is Christian and motivated by the desire to create families for infertile couples and to put her boys through college.

Together, they embark on a journey that tears at the heart of their beliefs.

Catherine is torn between her views on social justice and her desire for a healthy child, while Nellie is torn between her loyalty to Catherine, her religious beliefs and her own family.

But there is no going back.

Production history

  • 2014, MELBOURNE, fortyfivedownstairs, rehearsed reading, directed by Brenda Palmer, starring Carolyn Masson as Catherine and Sarah Ranken as Nellie.
  • 2015, MELBOURNE, premiere produced by Jane Cafarella, Chapel Off Chapel, direction and dramaturgy by Anna McCrossin-Owen, starring Carolyn Bock as Catherine and Sarah Ranken as Nellie.
  • 2015, LONDON, rehearsed reading, So and So Arts Club, directed by Pamela Schermann, starring Kat Rogers as Catherine and Becky Hands-Wicks as Nellie.
  • 2016, SYDNEY, The Ensemble Theatre, direction and dramaturgy by Nadia Tass, starring Danielle Carter as Catherine and Gabrielle Scawthorn as Nellie.
  • 2017, HOBART, Tasmanian Theatre Company (for Ten Days on the Island International Arts Festival), directed by Anne Cordiner and Julie Waddington, starring Jane Longhurst as Catherine and Katie Robertson as Nellie.
  • 2018, OHIO, USA, Cedarville University, directed by Natalia Kirychuk, starring Kimberlyn Wideman as Catherine and Susanna Edwards as Nellie.
  • 2019, MELBOURNE, Lyceum Club (private performance), directed by Rosemary Redston, with Mary Lou Archibald as Catherine and Meg Bartel as Nellie
  • 2019, LONDON, Brockley Jack Theatre, Aequitas Theatre Group, directed by Pamela Schermann, starring Kat Rogers as Catherine and Rachel Bellis as Nellie.
  • 2020, COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, Talking Horse Productions, scheduled for August 2020, but postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19.
  • 2021-2022, BARCELONA, SPAIN, Les Antonietes Teatre, directed by Oriol Tarrason, production and tour planned with translation into Spanish and Catalan.

Nominations and awards

  • Nominated for Best (Professional) Production in the Tasmanian Theatre Awards (Errols) 2018
  • Winner: Katie Robertson (Nellie) for Best Performance (Female) in a Professional Production, Tasmanian Theatre Awards
  • 2016 Sydney production named among “Best New Australian Writing” by Sydney theatre blogger Kevin Jackson of Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Blog

e-baby rights for the UK, US and Europe are handled by Stage Scripts in the UK and by Australian Plays in Australia. For script purchase or production inquiries:

http://shop.stagescripts.com/categories/plays/full-length/drama/e-baby.html

https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1629

Photos:

  • e-baby Melbourne, Sarah Walker; e-baby Sydney, courtesy Ensemble Theatre; e-baby Ohio, courtesy Natalia Kirychuk; e-baby London, courtesy Aequitas Theatre.