THE STORY: Jean and Henry Farrell, after years of unsuccessfully attempting to have a baby of their own, decide to adopt. Emma, the birth mother, approves of the couple. Now a new waiting game begins: awaiting the birth of their child. To help Jean through, her best friend Franny comes for a visit, but brings more baggage than a normal traveler as she is separating from her husband, Sam. When the time arrives it is not a happy occasion however, as the baby boy, Robin, is born hydrocephalic and will not live long. Jean falls for this child anyway; the attention she pays to Robin not only threatens to tear her marriage apart but causes trouble at the hospital as well. Jean has no parental rights, even though Emma has disappeared, and the administrators (despite what the nursing staff have to say) are wary. Eventually Robin succumbs to his condition, leaving Jean and Henry not only having to repair their marriage, but right back where they started—interviewing with a new birth mother.
Winner of the 1995 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The first play ever commissioned by the internationally acclaimed Oregon Shakespeare Festival, EMMA’S CHILD is part of a planned trilogy. “…a tear-jerker in the best sense of the term. It is a play that deeply involves the audience with its principle protagonist, that brave little creature, and the adults that are indelibly changed for having been drawn into his orbit.” —Ashland Gazette. “…absorbing, amusing and touching…Thatcher keeps an intense, persistent focus on her idea: Life matters and the connection between lives matter.” —Seattle Post Intelligencer.