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! 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)


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


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!



(Warning: spoilers)


What planet was Charlie Kaufman on when he wrote Anomalisa? Planet sexist?

Perhaps you’ve seen it? It’s been out a while and received many accolades and awards.

“The most human movie of the year…” said Matt Patches from Esquire magazine. “Anomalisa changed my life,” began the effusive review by Drew McWeeny at HitFlix.

Not everyone agreed. There was some backlash, as the main character has an adulteress affair with not even a “Will I?” or “Won’t I?”

But that’s not why I found this film shocking.

No doubt its many fans will disagree, but perhaps they’d like to see it through my eyes?

Michael Stone, an emotionally disconnected and taciturn middle-aged man goes to the Fregoli Hotel in Cincinnati to speak at a customer service conference about his book. The Fregoli is named after a psychiatric disorder where the sufferer thinks everyone else in the world is the same except him.

As a symptom of this, everyone he meets speaks with the same male voice (voiced by Tom Noonan), even Bella, his jilted girlfriend of a decade ago – whom we first meet as an accusing  voice in his head (“Fuck you! Fuck! Fuck!”)

“I’m premenstrual”…

At the hotel, his wife Donna calls and tells him she is premenstrual. They have a perfunctory conversation. This is followed by more accusations from Bella, the bitch in his head, which prompts the lonely and guilty Michael to give her a call to see how she’s doing after all these years.

And fat…

Bella is stunned, sceptical, shaken and apologetic at his suggestion that they meet for a drink. She has just come out of a “stupid relationship with a psycho” and doesn’t want to burden him: “I’m not sure you want to be the victim to my current emotional imbalance tonight.”  (Maybe she’s pre-menstrual too?)

Michael tells her there’s something wrong with him, but Bella still agrees to meet. Just in case he’s disappointed, she apologises for the fact that she’s gained some weight and now has a fake tooth: “Just so you don’t look at me like freaked out or anything.” Presumably Michael has aged too, but who cares? He’s a man.

“Do I look bad?”

Bella orders the same drink as Michael and apologises for her job (designing pamphlets), then asks for reassurance about her looks: “Do I look bad? I look bad, don’t I?” He obliges: “You look good”.

Bella tells him that she was so messed up when he left her all those years ago, she didn’t get out of bed for a year. But all he wants to know is whether the relationship changed her. This freaks her out, so he invites her up to his room for a drink, which freaks her out more, so she leaves.

He goes back upstairs and takes a shower and hears the voice of a woman passing his door. What an anomaly! A woman’s voice! He goes looking for her, knocking on doors claiming he is looking for his friend.

He is a greeted by the woman in question (Lisa, voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh) who immediately recognises him as the famous Michael Stone – and apologises for her looks: “Oh, do I look awful? I was just taking my make-up off. Don’t look at me!”

Her roommate, Emily, joins her. She is equally bowled over. “You can look at me!” she says coquettishly.

They have come to Cincinnati just to hear him speak and are overwhelmed by his presence, especially Lisa, who continues to want to avoid his Godly gaze: “Oh God, please don’t look at me.”

“I’m so dumb”

But she can’t take her eyes off him.  “We think you’re super brilliant,” she gushes.  “You’re so smart, I’m not sure I should even say words in front of you, because you’ll see how dumb I am.” Emily tells her to shut up. Four times in the scene.

These “lovely customer service ladies” can’t really afford such a swish hotel. “We’re only customer service reps, so you can imagine our salaries.” But now, in the presence of the great Michael, they agree that the expense is totally worth it.

They are beside themselves with glee at his invitation to have a drink with them. As they drink apple mojitos, they tell him about their interests: hiking, biking, reading, going to the movies and playing Scrabble, strip poker and the Jew’s harp.

After the drink, Lisa, can’t resist pressing all the buttons in the lift, like a child. “Is it stupid to like to press buttons?” she asks. This totally presses Michael’s buttons, and, apologising to Emily for not choosing her, he invites Lisa up to his room. (Woo! Woo!)

Lisa can’t believe her luck. “Are you sure you don’t mean, Emily? Everyone always likes Emily better?”

It turns out Lisa has a scar on her neck, which explains her self-deprecating manner. “People don’t like to look at me much.” Michael offers to kiss it.  (Awww!! But hang on, what about his wife and kid?)

Once again, Lisa can’t believe her luck. Is he sure he wants to be with her? After all, she’s ugly and dumb: “I mean, I’m not smart like Emily. And I’m ugly. You’re a really smart guy. You should like Emily. I don’t even understand a lot of words in your book. I sat there with a dictionary. I try to learn. But I’m never going to be smart. And I’m ugly.”

But these are just the sorts of qualities that turn Michael on – along with her voice. He wants her to keep talking. It doesn’t matter what she’s saying, it’s just her voice. She’s extraordinary. He doesn’t know why. He asks her to sing. She sings Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

And grateful…

They have sex, with him taking the lead and her apologising, after all it’s been eight years (she’s ugly, remember) and shy and the last guy was only with her because he knew he’d “have a shot”. “Which he did.” She comes with grateful gasps – in the missionary position (naturally).

Later, he has a bad dream – the world is against him and won’t let him be with Lisa. He lashes out in his sleep, accidentally hitting Lisa, who is appreciative: “Oh, it’s okay. I kind of liked it. It’s kind of intimate.”

Their whole relationship is such a blast that Michael decides it should be forever. His wife and son no longer exist, he tells Lisa, who immediately agrees to be with him: “Oh, gosh, okay. Yeah, let’s do it.” Presumably, anything’s better than Scrabble, strip poker and a boring job.

But at breakfast, Michael discovers that Lisa is hopelessly flawed after all, starting with her annoying habit of clicking her fork against her teeth. Naturally, she is apologetic: “Oh, sorry. People have told me that before. I know, it’s a stupid unconscious habit.”

And controlling…

Lisa wonders about the effect of a divorce on Michael’s son, Henry, to which Michael answers: “You’re being a little controlling, don’t you think?” For this, he receives more apologies: “I don’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

He’s a big man, so he forgives her, but will she please not talk with food hanging out of her mouth? “Oh, sorry,” Lisa says. “I’m a pig. Sorry.”

This, apparently, is just the relationship Lisa has been looking for: “I’m so happy, Michael. I’ve waited for someone like you my whole life.”

Michael gives his speech at the conference – a garbled mess of confessional comments about his psychological state, the state of the world and boring and obvious tips on customer service – and then goes home to his wife with a strange Japanese toy her bought at a sex shop (mistaken for a toy shop) for his son, and which, as his wife points out, emits semen. Perhaps Miss Japan will be the next ideal mate?

But hey, it was great..

Lisa writes him a lovely goodbye note. She doesn’t understand why he left but she accepts it and is grateful for the great time she had, and the cute nickname he gave her: Anomalisa

The film ends with Lisa’s wistful lament about longing for the voice of that special someone, while surrounded by the idle chatter of people who don’t get you.

And so real!

I am depressed.

I get it, Charlie. Michael’s having a nervous breakdown. He’s desperate for connection. Lisa lacks confidence and is desperate for connection. It’s about the futility of life, how we all wander the world in search of a soul mate – only to be disappointed by the flawed reality of our fellow human beings. Yada, yada, yada.

But does Lisa have to be quite so flawed?

Perhaps Lisa is a deliberately ridiculous male fantasy as a contrast to the banal reality of Michael’s squeezed-out relationship with his wife? I hope so.

I just wish that the celebrated Charlie Kaufman, whose movies are watched by millions, hadn’t perpetuated a whole bunch of stereotypes about women in the process.

What’s even more depressing is that none of the reviewers thought Lisa was anything other than delightfully real.

Oh, so many layered messages in the play! – Srig Laks, audience member.

I am delighted that my little play Change Shift got a mention in a review of Pathey Nimidam, the 10-minute Tamil Play Festival,  by audience member, Srig Laks, who also nominated it as the one he most enjoyed. (He calls it Passport, as there was no program listing the names of the plays).

Thank you, Srig, for giving Pathey Nimidam such a warm and encouraging review.

Many thanks to my wonderful director, Susie Penrice Tyrie, and talented cast, Varsh Victoria as Sonja, Drake Lim as Mr Goh, and Ammu Thomas, as Ammu, the Indian High Commissioner official, and to the festival organisers.

Change Shift (English version) is available to both professional and amateur theatre groups to produce for free, as long as you send me an invitation to your production and a photo. Email me at jane.cafarella@gmail.com if you are interested.




It only takes 10 minutes for your life to change…

It’s Change Shift time for taxi-driver Mr Goh at peak-hour in Singapore, and he’s not taking passengers unless they are going to Tampines.
But Sonja needs to get to the Indian High Commission in a hurry to pick up her passport so she can travel to Chennai for her wedding the next day. Will Mr Goh put the brakes on her dream?

Find out at Pathey Nimidam 2016, an evening of short plays in Tamil at the Aliwal Centre, 28 Aliwal Rd, Singapore. Pathey Nimidam is presented by Ravindran Drama Group, supported by National Arts Council and Arts Fund.

Pathey Nimidam features six different Tamil plays, each only 10 minutes.
Subtitles available!

Change ShiftChange Shift is written by Jane Cafarella, directed by Susie Penrice Tyrie and stars Drake Lim as Mr Goh, Varshini Victoria as Sonja, and Ammu Thomas as the Indian High Commission employee.

Some come one and all, come watch how our characters’ moods shift and fates change when their destinies become intertwined!  Everything is about to change.

Aliwal Arts Centre
5th August (Friday) 8pm
6th August 2016(sat) 3pm & 8pm
Tickets: Adults $15
Tickets: Students $10
Please contact *91773533* for tickets to the show.


New children’s book for rev-heads!

Is your man obsessed with cars?

Does he disappear regularly to take part in motor-car races, as a driver or navigator?

Then this is the book for you – and any primary-school-aged children in your family.

The book is based on the true story of my husband, Rob, and his best mate, Matt, who have been racing Matt’s 911 Porsche in the Targa races in Australia for the past three years.

It  was written and illustrated over three days for Matt’s daughter’s fourth birthday (hence the rough job!)

My Daddy is a Race Car Driver



You can’t keep a good dog down.


‘Supersnout, who made his debut appearance at in Aberdeen, Scotland, at Quids in Theatre’s Lunchbox Theatre on February 27, will be back in September as part of Quids Pop-Up Supper Theatre.

Supersnout’s lunch time audience in February was small but enthusiastic.

“Everyone enjoyed it and thought it funny and quirky,” Annie Begg, Quids producer, said.

Here are some pictures from the dress rehearsal.

Many thanks to the team who made it all possible.

‘Supersnout’ is a one-act 45 minute comedy  (four-hander) about love and loyalty.

If you are interested in reading the script with a view to performance or obtaining the performance rights, please email jane.cafarella@gmail.com


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