SYN Nation

Review: e-baby


Director:  Anna McCrossin-Owen

Playwright: Jane Cafarella

Cast: Carolyn Bock as ‘Catherine’ & Sarah Ranken as ‘Nellie’

Showing at ‘The Loft’ Chapel Off Chapel, Prahan, March 4-15


Catherine, a 46-year-old Australian lawyer living in London, is desperate to have a child. Despite her many unsuccessful attempts to become pregnant, including 11 years of IVF treatment, Catherine seeks the help of first time US surrogate Nellie to make her dream of becoming a mother come true. ‘E-Baby’ is a poignant and moving story of two women and their surrogacy.

Inspired by her investigations into surrogacy while working as a journalist overseas, Jane Cafarella has used her research as a basis to write ‘E-Baby’, her first full-length play. Cafarella does not supply the audience with easy answers; by contrast, she provides a balanced insight into the complex world of surrogacy and its impact on those involved. Both characters are presented sympathetically and audiences witness their respective joys and heartbreaks.

A scene that I found particularly moving was when Catherine, who is presented as a successful woman in control of her life and emotions, reveals an underlying vulnerability and a desperate desire to become a mother. Catherine constructs a wall of wooden boxes on which a light projection of a pregnant woman’s silhouette is shown. She caresses the projected abdomen as she would her own. She then takes this particular box and holds it to her own body – a gesture of such anguish and tenderness that enables the audience to sense the deep longing that Catherine has endured.

This is a strong playwrighting debut for Cafarella, a play not to be missed. 

– Lauren Klein


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