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Thanks so much to Sydney theatre blogger Kevin Jackson of Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Blog, for including the Sydney production of my play e-baby in his list of “Best New Australian Writing” seen in Sydney in 2016, (produced by The Ensemble Theatre and directed by Nadia Tass).

I am very chuffed and l honoured to be included with six other wonderful writers, including Patricia Cornelius (Savages – Eternity Theatre) and Leah Purcell (The Drover’s Wife – Belvoir).

e-baby went on to be produced by The Tasmanian Theatre Company in March 2017, to critical acclaim, directed by Anne Cordiner and Julie Waddington for Tasmanian’s Ten Days on the Island International Arts Festival.

For production inquiries, please email jane.cafarella@gmail.com

You can see Kevin’s list here:

http://www.kjtheatrediary.com/…/12/looking-back-on-2016.html

 

Below, Gabrielle Scawthorn, as Nellie, and Danielle Carter as Catherine, in the Sydney production of e-baby at The Ensemble Theatre, directed by Nadia Tass, with set design by Tobhiyah Stone Feller.

gabrielle-scawthorn-and-danielle-carter-in-e-baby-photo-by-clare-hawley-27-1

‘d-baby’ a semi-finalist in Garry Marshall New Works Festival

I’m thrilled to report that my new play d-baby has just made the semi-final list for the Gary Marshall Theatre’s New Works Festival in Burbank California.

d-baby is a high-concept play with themes that will resonate strongly with modern audiences, especially young people.

Its themes are:

  • identity and belonging
  • nature versus nurture
  • shame
  • secrets
  • religious and moral conflict

It is a coming-of-age story with a difference. It is about a teenager who has been created for one family but is genetically related to another.

It’s about a teenager for whom searching for her true identity means risking the love and support of the only family she has known.

A new stolen generation

It’s about a new stolen generation of adults for whom answering the basic human question: “Who am I?” is becoming increasingly complex and difficult.

The story and characters are fictional but they are based on real events that happen every day in the world of donor conception.

The events in d-baby can’t happen here in Australia, as commercial gamete trading is banned here. That’s why it’s set in the US.

But it shines a spotlight on what could happen should Australia go down that path, and reflects some of the emotional landscape that donor-conceived adults are negotiating here, and some of the moral challenges facing parents of donor-conceived children here, such as when and how to tell.

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

The play has taken 12 months to write, and has the support of acclaimed director Nadia Tass, who directed the highly successful Sydney production of e-baby for the Ensemble Theatre.

It was written to answer the questions raised during the Q & A for my play e-baby in Melbourne on International Women’s Day 2015, “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,

d-baby  is not a sequel to e-baby. It’s a different story with different characters – and you don’t have to see one to understand the other. But it’s the same setting, and I like to imagine that Nellie, the surrogate mother from e-baby lives down the road from June and Dee from d-baby in Boston, unaware that they are both sharing the same complex journey of making families in the 21st Century.

“I read a lot of scripts, but this one is musical.”

Laura Schuster, actor an teacher, Singapore

The play had its first reading in Singapore in February, hosted by actor and teacher Laura Schuster and with the parts of Dee and Zac being read by students from the Singapore American School, and the parts of June and Tess being read by Laura, Susie Penrice Tyrie,  and Angela Ryan.

Here are some comments from the reading:

“I read a lot of scripts, but this one is musical.”

“I relate! The whole lawyer part, that’s like what my mom says to me.”

“When the guys were reading Zac, especially Ethan, it sounds like stuff he would say.”

“…this is the first time I’ve read a character whose my exact age, so I’ve never really related to a character that closely, I guess. It was just so interesting.”

“I love the line that there’s some relief to know that he’s not going to be fat and bald.”

“There’s so many lines in this that we can remember. already, They’re gems.”

The play has also attracted the interest and support of groups supporting donor-conceived people both in Australia and the United States.

The play is a four-hander with some voice overs, set in Boston, Massachusetts. Its setting is multi-locational.

It would suit an intimate theatre and a company that prefers plays that can both challenge and entertain.

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

 

STARVATION IN YEMEN

No doubt you saw the story in The Sun in the UK a few days ago about the Californian couple who live on fresh air?

A ‘BREATHARIAN’ mum-and-dad of two have barely eaten for nine years as they live off ‘the universe’s energy’.

The Sun reported that “Husband and wife Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello believe that humans can be sustained solely by the energy of the universe”.

But not quite.

The article went on to say that the couple and their children, aged five and two, “have barely eaten more than a piece of fruit or some vegie broth three times a week since 2008”.

So the energy of the universe – and a bit of fruit and soup.

BREATHARIAN COUPLE

Breatharians, Camila Castello and Akahi Ricardo and their children, pictured above, who claim to have barely eaten for nine years. (The Sun, UK)

They feel so much better and can stop wasting money on food and spend it on travel instead, the report said.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And millions of people in the rest of the world die of hunger-related causes each year simply because they don’t know how to access the energy of the universe – or don’t have access to fruit and soup three times a week.

No doubt you dismissed this story as the obvious bullshit that it was – just part of the epidemic of fake news – obvious because not one of the couple’s claims were challenged by the reporter.

The only questions came from readers’ comments.

One reader justly chastised the article for the harm it would do teenagers already suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia.

Another quipped that we should take this type of “news” with a pinch of salt.

But there is one aspect of this story that deserves our attention and it is not the ludicrous and harmful content – but the journalism, or lack of it.

As a former journalist of 35 years and journalism trainer for more than 10 years, I am appalled that such stories even make it to newspapers like The Sun.

There is a story here, but it is not this one.

The real story is how the media can justify the promotion of such dangerous ignorance.

Real journalism means challenging questionable claims – whether they come from the President of the United States or people claiming to live on fresh air.

It means getting not just getting two sides of the story, but all sides of the story.

It means not just writing clearly, but thinking clearly.

It means turning information into knowledge.

When I was teaching journalism, some of the key questions my cadets were asked to consider when writing stories were  “What does it mean for my readers?” And “Is there another side?”

The tragic other side to this story is the millions in the developing world who die of hunger-related causes every year, many of them children (see below), while the rest of the world gorges itself on recreational food.

The sad truth is that this story is just another example of the growing trend to reject science and embrace ignorance in the quest for special status in a world where being noticed has become just as necessary as food and water.

I’m disappointed that despite the great improvements in the education of journalists since I was a cadet, and the many journalists today risking their lives and careers to discover and write the truth,  such fakery still passes for news.

Disappointed, but not surprised.

I remember a similar situation when I was teaching journalism to local newspaper cadets and a “ghost hunter” came to town. Our unquestioning young reporters gleefully gave this charlatan front-page coverage on the grounds that it was “a good story”, a bit of fun and entertainment for readers.

It might have been entertainment but it wasn’t news and the charlatan ghost-hunter was making a fortune from the scam – a scam that the newspaper risked its own credibility to promote.

Real news would have been a story questioning what service this guy was actually providing and how many people he had ripped off in the process – and why the better educated we are, the more gullible we seem to become.

But those stories require time, investigation and resources.

In these days of click bait, stories like this, that attract ridicule, outrage, confusion and incredulity, are the ones that are retweeted and shared as people try to make sense of them or send them to their friends as jokes.

But it is no joke when real damage is done – not only in the tragic deaths that have occurred since the promotion of Breatharianism – one in Australia and one in Switzerland –  but the damage to the credibility of journalism and journalists, and to the real plight of people who suffer hunger-related diseases and death, not because there is a worldwide shortage of food but because of the gross shortage of understanding, empathy and political goodwill.

For the facts on world hunger:

 

http://www.worldhunger.org/2015-world-hunger-and-poverty-facts-and-statistics/f

https://www.freedomfromhunger.org/world-hunger-facts

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2135324/Woman-starves-death-spiritual-journey-trying-live-sunlight-alone.html

Stagescripts Ltd is an independent publisher and rights-holder for the works of mostly contemporary writers and composers of musical theatre and drama, serving adventurous producers – Company statement.

I am delighted to announce that the independent United Kingdom publisher Stagescripts has published e-baby and now handles licensing for the UK, US and Europe. (Australian licensing rights are handled by me.)

Here is the link:

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

 

 

 

e-baby Tassie set pic

Katie Roberts (left) as Nellie, and Jane Longhurst (right) as Catherine in the recent Tasmanian Theatre Company production of e-baby, directed by Anne Cordiner and Julie Waddington. Set by Matilda Woodroofe.

Stagescripts Ltd is small family-run business based in West Sussex and headed by managing director David Waters.

David first came across the play at the rehearsed reading at the So and So Arts Club in London in July 2015, directed by Pamela Shermann and featuring Kat Rogers as Catherine and Becky Hands-Wicks as Nellie.  First steps to add it to the Stagescripts catalogue were taken soon after.

Stagescripts signed its first titles into a catalogue in 1998 and four years later as ‘Plays and Musicals’, began to expand a new catalogue.  The name Stagescripts Ltd was registered in 2007.

Chris Grady, professional theatre consultant and the former Head of International Licencing at Cameron Mackintosh Ltd was an early advisor and is now a Board member.

Caroline Underwood joined the Board in 2012. Before joining Alan Brodie Representation Caroline worked for many years in the licensing department at Warner Chappell, and is currently the Chair of Mercury Musical Development.

Stagescripts will also be publishing and licensing my one-act play Supersnout.

I am very grateful to David and his team for their support and excited be part of the Stagescripts catalogue.

Check out the full Stagescripts catalogue here:

http://shop.stagescripts.com/

 

e-bebek-turkish-translation-by-hakan-gur

I am thrilled to announce that my play e-baby has been translated into Turkish by Dr Hakan Gur, a freelance translator who works as an English teacher at Clausthal University of Technology in Germany.

The play will now be submitted by Turkish actor and director Levent Ulgen to the General Directorate of State Theatres for any interested theatre companies or directors to pick up.

Born in 1961, Dr Gur is a Turkish citizen currently living in Germany. He worked as an English and Turkish teacher for a private institute, a private university, and finally a state university before retiring in 2009 and moving to Germany with his wife.

He has translated 51 books and four plays (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, I Am Not Rappaport by Herb Gartner, Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut – now e-baby by Jane Cafarella)  from English into Turkish.


After reading reviews of the play, Dr Gur contacted me in December asking for permission to translate it, so I was very excited to see the translated version arrive by email yesterday – e-bebek!

I am very grateful for Dr Gur’s interest in the play and for his work translating it. I must admit this was somewhat of a surprise. (Any Turkish actors out there who are interested, please let me know!)

e-baby is the story of Catherine, an infertile woman living in London, and Nellie, the surrogate she hires in the US. It is a story about love, loss, obsession and entitlement that shines a light a world where new life can start with an online ad. With one in six couples grappling with infertility, e-baby is truly a story of our times.

Don’t miss the the English version of e-baby in Hobart March 20-April 1


Meanwhile, if you want to catch the latest English version of e-baby get down to beautiful Hobart to see the Tasmanian Theatre Company’s production, which opens on March 20, starring award-winning actors Jane Longhurst (Catherine) and Katie Robertson (Nellie).

e-baby is directed by Anne Cordiner and Julie Waddington and is  being produced by TTC as its contribution to Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island International Arts Festival.
http://tendays.org.au/event/e-baby/

Looking for a new school musical for your talented music and drama students?

Sick of doing the same old stuff, like Grease and High School Musical?

Cram! is a new musical for anyone who has gone through/ or is going through the agonies of SAT, ACT, GCSE, IB, HSC or VCE.  Whatever you call the final year of high school in your country, it’s a year full of drama that is definitely worth singing and dancing about.

CRAM!

Cram! is about the things that suck in Year 12 (study and parental pressure) and the things that are cool (friends and love and dreaming big) and finding your place in an uncertain world.

Book, lyrics (and some music) by JANE CAFARELLA. Music (and some lyrics) by LACHLAN DAVIDSON.

Musical arrangements and production by TJ TAYLOR, with dramaturgy by CHRISTIE EVANGELISTO

The story:

Rosie, a nerdy perfectionist, is dreaming big. Like lots of kids these days what she really wants is to be famous. She wants to be a singer, but not just any singer – an opera singer. It’s horribly uncool, but she can’t help it.

That’s Plan A. But for her mother Kathy, there is only Plan B – get an Arts degree and a real job.

Rosie’s BFF Gabe just wants to dance on Broadway, her friend T’Lor just wants to pass, Bill is too scared to say what he really wants, Sebastian knows he’ll ace it, as usual, and Dash is making a study of the new guy, Sam.

English teacher Mr Mac is doing everything to help.  Year 12 Coordinator Mrs Brown (aka Brown Owl) is doing everything to ensure everyone upholds the school’s fine reputation – and her own.

Rosie soon discovers that being a prima donna isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and that life is about finding your own voice.

But as the final exams loom, all have all have just one pressing goal – CRAM!

The music:

A mix of musical theatre-style, jazz and rap – still in development. Minimum requirement: piano, drums, guitar.

Listen here:

WANNA BE – Opening number – full cast

A FINE REPUTATION – Mrs Beatrice Brown (aka Brown Owl)

A FIRST BORN SON – Bill

LATER – Sam and Ensemble

CRAM – Full cast

Many thanks to Lachlan Davidson, Prudence Finlay, Wern Mack, Benedict Jazenco-Taylor, Matt Davies, Estelle Mannins and Myra Davidson. 

Trial our show!

We’re looking for a school that is willing to work with us to trial the show and develop it further, working towards our first full production.

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity for music and drama teachers and talented young performers.

CRAM! is a fun show about finding your place and voice in an uncertain world.

It’s about the kids who ace it and the kids who don’t – and the lessons they learn along the way. 

Register your interest now ! Write to  jane.cafarella@gmail.com

ttc-e-baby-ad-jc

e-baby is an utterly beautiful play … delicious and satisfying.  When an audience is effortlessly made to think, laugh and cry, a slice of the human experience is shared …  – Upstaged 

 

 

e-baby will make its Hobart premiere next March as Tasmanian Theatre Company’s contribution to the Ten Days on the Island international arts festival.

e-baby Hobart will star two award-winning Tasmanian actresses – Jane Longhurst as Catherine and Katie Robertson as Nellie – and will be directed by Anne Cordiner and Julie Waddington.

The play will be performed at the Patrick Street Theatre, 137 Patrick St, Hobart (a pop-up venue for the festival).

If you missed the Melbourne or Sydney seasons (2015 and 2016), this is your chance to catch e-baby in Hobart, along with a fantastic line up of other events. Why not book a festival holiday?

The Hobart season follows a highly successful Sydney season at the Ensemble Theatre in October 2016, directed by Nadia Tass and starring Danielle Carter and Gabrielle Scawthorn, and the world premiere at Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel in March 2015, with direction and dramaturgy by Anna McCrossin-Owen, and starring Carolyn Bock and Sarah Ranken.

 e-baby is about the relationship between an infertile woman and the surrogate she hires. It’s a play about love, obsession and entitlement, told with compassion and humour.

It is the story of Nellie, 28, a mother of two living in the surrogacy friendly state of Massachusetts,  who sets out to give the “gift of life” to an infertile couple, and  Catherine, 45, an Australian expat living in London, who has everything – a husband, a career and an international life. Everything except a child.

As they share the highs and lows of pregnancy, we get to know two very different women, both of whom have underestimated the emotional impact of the path they have chosen.

Funny, touching and important, e-baby is a play about modern themes and dilemmas, which leaves audiences debating the issues long after they leave the theatre.

Ten Days on the Island was established by the Tasmanian Government in 2001 to develop and deliver a statewide cultural festival of national significance that provides opportunities for Tasmanian artists and companies to present their works to a wider audience, provides opportunities for the Tasmanian community to be exposed to national and international artists and companies of the highest quality, and assists in providing the state of Tasmania with a legacy of expert professional arts infrastructure.

The biennial festival celebrates Tasmania’s island culture and offers a platform on which to profile and promote Tasmania’s innovative, creative and resourceful character and unique cultural identity.

Ten Days on the Island brings international recognition for Tasmania and demonstrates how the arts can positively influence a community’s perception of itself and the image it projects to the world.

Book now!

http://tendays.org.au/event/e-baby/

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