TABOOS (by Carl Djerassi)

Review excerpts

(London run at New End Theatre, Feb. – April 2006)


This is a MUST see play, by far one of the best performances I’ve seen and another major triumph for everyone involved.... You’ll definitely walk away thinking about where you stand on the issues it raises.

            Marcela Olivares, IndieLONDON (


TABOOS is an excellent piece of work that is multi-layered and intelligently written. It’s a thought-provoking play that’s a pleasure to watch and includes stand-out performances from the whole cast. It’s a highly recommended night at the theatre.

            Charlotte Cooper, Rainbow Network (


A play that’s worth seeing because it explores complex moral and ethical dilemmas - many of which may seem insoluble.

         Peter Brown, London Theatre (


Entertaining and thought-provoking play…. We may think we are ethics-savvy in this day and age, but the reality may be something else entirely. The bestowal of this awareness, in the end, is one of the best things about TABOOS.

            Jennifer Rohn, LabLit (


Funny sexy science takes centre stage.

            The Press (Hendon & Finchley edition), March 9, 2006


Lovely performances… enchanting. Djerassi gives us a lot to think about confused family relationships resulting from scientific experimentation… Black comedy.

            Aline Waites, Ham & High, March 10, 2006, p. VIII


Taboos really couldn’t be more current... The changes we are witnessing in Djerassi’s “Sex in an age of mechanical reproduction” throws up serious ethical dilemmas, but they also offer exciting opportunities to renegotiate the social and political networks in which we operate.

            Helen Birtwistle, Culture Wars, March 13, 2006 (


Having grappled with such issues as test-tube reproduction and scientific fraud, Djerassi now explores the implications of modern fertility techniques or, as one character describes it, “a spectacularly complicated reproductive mess among adults, not all of them consenting… a comedy fertilised by a “what if?” case study.

            Ian Johns, The Times (London), March 15, 2006.


A stage full of scientific and ethical viewpoints… Djerassi manages to make this comedy of genetic muddle strangely gripping.

            Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard (London), March 15, 2006.


Ultimately, the issues the play raises about the power that new reproductive technologies give us, and the choices we may have to make because of them, are issues that society as a whole will have to face.

Alom Shana, Resonance Productions (, March 19, 2006


The show is... entertaining, and in the end leaves you with a new perception on artificial pregnancies, especially the role of the donor parent.

            Emanuel Nordrum, CityNeighbours (


This thought provoking, hugely enjoyable play should not be missed.

       Judith M Steiner, Theatreworld Internet Magazine


Sparks fly when Harriet and Sally try for a baby.

            Hannah Glickstein, Camden New Journal, March 22, 2006.


Rugby ball theatre... there are exciting complications at every turn. In the ethical crossfire that follows, Djerassi seems to have weighted the arguments as evenly as possible.

            Kieron Quirke, Time Out (London), March 29, 2006.




(SoHo Playhouse, Sept. – Oct.  2008)




BY Carl Djerassi



“As an educational experience on some of the possibilities of modern reproductive science, TABOOS is very effective… a very human and compassionate drama by a very smart writer.”

         Danny Bowes,, Sept. 14, 2008


“Just about every potential emotional, religious, and legal entanglement that could arise from alternative means of reproduction is dealt with gingerly in Carl Djerassi’s lively comedy-drama. TABOOS, in Djerassi’s vernacular, is an easy—and yet provocative—pill to swallow.”


         Ron Cohen, (Sept. 19, 2008).


“…one brilliant scene involves three dolls on a dining room table. They represent three children who have been creatively parented by five people—a lesbian couple, a married couple, and a lawyer…. In a silent argument, the parents keep moving the dolls toward whichever person they feel should raise the children.  Each move is also a bleakly witty metaphor, reminding us that parents can use their children to get what they want.”

         Mark Blankenship, VARIETY, Sept. 19, 2008.


“After seeing TABOOS…forget about believing in God’s will; imagine having to deal with twins borne to two mothers, a lesbian couple picking sides of who’s the mother of what child, a father who’s an uncle to his biological son… Djerassi shows a natural playwright’s sensibilities for dialogue, social dynamics, and constructing a scene.”

         Ethan Stanislawski, BC Blogcritics Magazine, September 21, 2008.




“TABOOS is a powerful examination of the numerous conundrums that can flow from decoupling reproduction from sex… simply a fine drama.”

         Rudy Baum, Chemical and Engineering News, Sept. 22, 2008.


“Bottom line: Our highest recommendation: hilarious, profound, compelling drama about what makes you a parent…. The performances of the 5-actor ensemble are among the best I have seen this year, on or off-Broadway…. One of the most rewarding evenings you have ever spent in the theater.

         Ronald Gross, New York Theater Buying Guide, September 23, 2008


“Carl Djerassi has prevented a lot of pregnancies—in addition to being a playwright, he is an inventor of the birth control pill—but in his play TABOOS there is a mini population explosion.... It’s all an opportunity for Mr. Djerassi to discourse on the new emotional terrain that science opened up with artificial insemination and other reproductive techniques. Romantic love, parental love, biological connection, family, marriage: these themes and more turn up as TABOOS unfolds. The play, although not a comedy, has some delicious humorous moments.”

         Neil Genzlinger. The New York Times, September 24, 2008.


“TABOOS mines some thought-provoking territory in its quest to decipher the ethical, emotional, familial, and legal ramifications of reproductive technology….  Djerassi is blessed with a director and a cast fully committed to breathing life into their characters and situations.”

         Diane Snyder, TimeOut New York, September. 25, 2008


“With its breathtaking take on medical breakthroughs and brittle breaks in human spirit, TABOOS taps topics that would have Freud hiding for cover under his couch. Couched in modern-day language and its litany of woes, the play is fertile ground for Peter Pan-sexual fantasy as birth mothers and fathers are interconnected through an umbilical cord immersed in controversy.

         Michael Elkin, Jewish Exponent, September 25, 2008


“TABOOS is composed of science straight from a reliable source and emotions portrayed by a talented cast, making the production a thought-provoking success.”

Sara Hottman, Show Business Weekly, September 30, 2008