Donna Latham

Donna Latham

Feminist writer Donna Latham (she/her) is a resident playwright at Rising Sun Performance Company NYC. And We Will Share the Sky was a finalist for the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award and is the recipient of the National Theatre for Young Audiences Playwriting Award from the University of Central Missouri. Most Wretched Deathbed Fever Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe received the Design Challenge...
Feminist writer Donna Latham (she/her) is a resident playwright at Rising Sun Performance Company NYC. And We Will Share the Sky was a finalist for the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award and is the recipient of the National Theatre for Young Audiences Playwriting Award from the University of Central Missouri. Most Wretched Deathbed Fever Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe received the Design Challenge Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Donna's plays are published with YouthPLAYS, Next Stage Press, and Smith Scripts and anthologized in Best American Short Plays 2016-2017, Best American Short Plays 2014-2015, 2016’s Best Ten-Minute Plays, and She Persisted: New Plays By Women Over 40, 2021. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild and Honor Roll Playwrights. A history geek, Donna grew up in a haunted house in the wilds of Chicagoland and has been fascinated with ghosts forever.

Plays

  • YELLA JACK
    When most rich white folks in Memphis up sticks and flee after yellow fever, a “stranger’s disease,” ravages the city, determined residents hunker down to stay alive in the purgatorial city. They form a found family to nurse the sick, keep the city afloat, embrace new opportunities—and scheme revenge. Jack, a serial-killing embodiment of contagion, collects trophies from victims—earbobs, rings, pearls, and a...
    When most rich white folks in Memphis up sticks and flee after yellow fever, a “stranger’s disease,” ravages the city, determined residents hunker down to stay alive in the purgatorial city. They form a found family to nurse the sick, keep the city afloat, embrace new opportunities—and scheme revenge. Jack, a serial-killing embodiment of contagion, collects trophies from victims—earbobs, rings, pearls, and a precious symbol of humanity. When Sister Gregory fails to return after nursing fever folk in Shanty Town, the found family fears the worst. All pray for frost. As ever.

    Omi Friday's monologue "I do despise the color red" is anthologized in S&K The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2022.
  • The Haunted Widow Lincoln
    In 1875, ten years after the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln’s increasingly bizarre public behavior rankles her sole surviving son Robert. In Chicago, he orchestrates an insanity hearing in which Mary is not permitted to speak. Pronounced insane by a “Sea of Men,” Mrs. Lincoln receives a court- ordered commitment to Bellevue Place, a posh, private sanitarium in Illinois’ Fox River Valley. There...
    In 1875, ten years after the assassination of her husband, Mary Todd Lincoln’s increasingly bizarre public behavior rankles her sole surviving son Robert. In Chicago, he orchestrates an insanity hearing in which Mary is not permitted to speak. Pronounced insane by a “Sea of Men,” Mrs. Lincoln receives a court- ordered commitment to Bellevue Place, a posh, private sanitarium in Illinois’ Fox River Valley. There, Mary hoards trunks of her possessions and vials of poison. She relies on the friendship of cherished friend Lizzie Keckley, a former slave and White House dressmaker, and enlists the aid of Rosalie, a maid at Bellevue Place, to fill prescriptions for laudanum and camphor. Mary wages a great battle with John Wilkes Booth, Secretary of War Stanton, and other ghosts of the past, while endlessly mourning the death of her husband and sons. Communing with the spirit world through the sham medium Madame Marvalosa and budding conjure lady Zuzu, Mary is determined to end her suffering—and her life.

    Semi-finalist, Playwrights First, 2015
    Semi-finalist, Vittum Prize

  • Suffer a Witch
    A trial of good and evil. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live! For truth, ‘tis time for a witch-swimmin’ in Grace Sherwood’s Colonial Virginia witch trail. Independent, tart-tongued, and unorthodox, herbalist-healer Grace sticks out like a witch’s teat in a God-fearing community. She stands accused of conjuring a late-term miscarriage, bewitching crops, and shapeshifting, among other offenses. Town pervert...
    A trial of good and evil. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live! For truth, ‘tis time for a witch-swimmin’ in Grace Sherwood’s Colonial Virginia witch trail. Independent, tart-tongued, and unorthodox, herbalist-healer Grace sticks out like a witch’s teat in a God-fearing community. She stands accused of conjuring a late-term miscarriage, bewitching crops, and shapeshifting, among other offenses. Town pervert Luke Hill, her main accuser, lusts over Grace and covets her land. Verity, her beloved granddaughter, comes into to her own powers. When the court orders a trail by water, Grace is stripped and crossbound in a burlap sack. She is ducked into the waters of Lynnhaven River. Will Grace sink or float? Is she innocent or guilty? A full-length play in one act.
  • 2 B or Nah: Sexting Hamlet: A 10-Minute Play
    You think your family’s crazy? Mine uncle boinks Mom with a hulking dad-bod. And sexts me. Oh woe, vile video!
  • Screwing Around With Shakespeare
    Gaslighting. Manspreading. Smashing the patriarchy. One playwright mansplained it all: William Shakespeare. Sharpen your quills for a bawdy bit of Bard-hopping! With a mash-up of classical, contemporary, and canonical chaos, monologues, sketches, songs, and playlettes poke ye bejeebers out of the esteemed works of Willy Shakes. Sample pieces: WOO HER LIKE A BADASS, and 2 B OR NAH 2 BE: SEXTING HAMLET, "...
    Gaslighting. Manspreading. Smashing the patriarchy. One playwright mansplained it all: William Shakespeare. Sharpen your quills for a bawdy bit of Bard-hopping! With a mash-up of classical, contemporary, and canonical chaos, monologues, sketches, songs, and playlettes poke ye bejeebers out of the esteemed works of Willy Shakes. Sample pieces: WOO HER LIKE A BADASS, and 2 B OR NAH 2 BE: SEXTING HAMLET, "Puck! Oh, Puck! What the Fuck?"
  • BEST BEWARE MY STING
    Laughter ensues when taming shrews! But what of the troublesome tropes Shakespeare mansplained? Alpha Petruchio is determined to keep his good lady wife Kate dicknotized and submissive. His servant Grumio, who moonlights as a sales rep for Fantasia Tickle Toys, cheers him on. Kate is a former ferocious shrew who caught feelings for Petruchio. She’s very nearly tamed, well on her way to a new identity as a sweet...
    Laughter ensues when taming shrews! But what of the troublesome tropes Shakespeare mansplained? Alpha Petruchio is determined to keep his good lady wife Kate dicknotized and submissive. His servant Grumio, who moonlights as a sales rep for Fantasia Tickle Toys, cheers him on. Kate is a former ferocious shrew who caught feelings for Petruchio. She’s very nearly tamed, well on her way to a new identity as a sweet and docile housewife. It’s time to renounce shrewish ways—until O’Felia from the block seizes the moment. Who the hell wants to be tamed? What’s up with this gaslighting? It’s more than a disruption of the intestinal humors….
  • FALSE PROFIT
    Rachel and Christine thwart the evil actions of a zealous cabal that seeks to enrich Ubu with megachurch funds.
  • WHAT FOOLS THESE MORTALS BE, AMIRITE?
    When Her Madge QEII makes her first historic Instagram post, Puck arrives to poof fairy dust for her protection. Who IS this vile vulgarian of a Trollboy? One is not amused.
  • A Midnight Clear: The Christmas Truce of 1914
    It is 1914, during the early months of WWI. Percy, promised he would be home for Christmas, wrestles with his religious beliefs in the face of war’s new rules. With her loved ones entrenched in a war of attrition in No Man’s Land, Eugenie is entrenched in London’s home front. She defies Grandmama to take a nursing position in the hospital, determined to do her bit to help the war effort and hone her skills in...
    It is 1914, during the early months of WWI. Percy, promised he would be home for Christmas, wrestles with his religious beliefs in the face of war’s new rules. With her loved ones entrenched in a war of attrition in No Man’s Land, Eugenie is entrenched in London’s home front. She defies Grandmama to take a nursing position in the hospital, determined to do her bit to help the war effort and hone her skills in medicine. Her brother Cornelius, who failed his medical, vows to join up. When the historic Christmas Truce of 1914 sweeps across the Western Front, peace reverberates in extraordinary ways.

    There is also a teen actor version.

    Semi-finalist, Dionysus Cup Festival of New Plays; Polarity Ensemble Theatre Company, Chicago, 2014
  • Grievances and Whirligigs
    Like love, empathy, and compassion, violence begins at home. When Mary Claire visits her parents after a lengthy absence, she lugs her ever- present Sack of Grievances. Attempted murder, stuffed emotions, and toxic chili roil to the surface when Mary Claire’s abusive father threatens her daughter, Knife.
  • Most Wretched Deathbed Fever Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe
    After a violent squall ushers in a sweltering heat wave, Annabelle stumbles upon a delirious man in the gutter. He is unable to recall his name, Edgar Allan Poe, or how he arrived in his hallucinatory state. Annabelle drags him to her lover Lucretia’s Memento Mori Shoppe, where Lucretia creates photographs of the dead—and which Annabelle haunts. With his acuteness of the senses, Poe is aware of Annabelle,...
    After a violent squall ushers in a sweltering heat wave, Annabelle stumbles upon a delirious man in the gutter. He is unable to recall his name, Edgar Allan Poe, or how he arrived in his hallucinatory state. Annabelle drags him to her lover Lucretia’s Memento Mori Shoppe, where Lucretia creates photographs of the dead—and which Annabelle haunts. With his acuteness of the senses, Poe is aware of Annabelle, although Lucretia is not. Lucretia vows to provide the mysterious stranger a safe place to peacefully pass from the earthly realm. She promises to create a proper post-mortem mourning daguerreotype in his memory, although Poe is utterly alone in the world. But first Lucretia must photograph putrefying bodies before the heat has their way with them, as Death threatens to take Poe to the bowels of hell. Ghosts of his past combine with characters and images from his literary works to torment Poe in his terror of premature burial. Can Poe make peace with his untimely demise and find solace in death? And what solace can he offer grieving Lucretia?
  • And We Will Share the Sky
    Long, long ago, when the world is fresh and new, Brother Sun and Sister Moon live on land. They are different as, well, as day and night. Gadabout Sun shines a dazzling personality over endless friends. Contemplative Moon finds inspiration within. The two struggle with their differences and try to find their places in the world.

    Inspired by traditional tales of Nigeria and Senegal, including “...
    Long, long ago, when the world is fresh and new, Brother Sun and Sister Moon live on land. They are different as, well, as day and night. Gadabout Sun shines a dazzling personality over endless friends. Contemplative Moon finds inspiration within. The two struggle with their differences and try to find their places in the world.

    Inspired by traditional tales of Nigeria and Senegal, including “How the Sun and Moon Came to Be” and “How the Sun and Moon Came to Live in the Sky”

    The cast is easily expandable with walk-on roles, especially in the flood scene, and can include audience participation.

    Kennedy Center Finalist, David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award
    National Theatre for Young Audiences Playwriting Award

    Published by YouthPLAYS; Read an excerpt: http://www.youthplays.com/play_details.php?play_id=350
  • Three by the Sea
    Desperately seeking his lost treasure, Buccaneer Bochephus Q. Fizziwater summons three sea yarns, “Paddy and the Mermaid,” “Coyote’s Moon,” and “Foghorn Franny.”

    The cast is easily expandable with flexible roles. Actors may portray a variety of roles.

    "Paddy and the Mermaid" received an Honorable Mention Award from the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild

    Available...
    Desperately seeking his lost treasure, Buccaneer Bochephus Q. Fizziwater summons three sea yarns, “Paddy and the Mermaid,” “Coyote’s Moon,” and “Foghorn Franny.”

    The cast is easily expandable with flexible roles. Actors may portray a variety of roles.

    "Paddy and the Mermaid" received an Honorable Mention Award from the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild

    Available through Brooklyn Publishers: http://www.brookpub.com/default.aspx?pg=sd&st=THREE+BY+THE+SEA&p=2104
  • Augusta's Diamond Ring
    When miserly Squint desecrates his widow Augusta’s corpse, her vengeful spirit exacts a hellish revenge. Tap, tap, tap.
  • Be Bold, Be Bold: A One-Act Play
    Synopsis: Embracing her boldness, young Lady Mary visits her mysterious lover’s home while he is away. There, she discovers a deadly secret. Loosely based retelling on Joseph Jacobs’ variation of “Mr. Fox.” Jacobs collected “Mr. Fox” in 1890; however, the tale certainly predates his collection. In fact, in Much Ado About Nothing, (circa 1598 or 1599) Benedick quotes: “Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not...
    Synopsis: Embracing her boldness, young Lady Mary visits her mysterious lover’s home while he is away. There, she discovers a deadly secret. Loosely based retelling on Joseph Jacobs’ variation of “Mr. Fox.” Jacobs collected “Mr. Fox” in 1890; however, the tale certainly predates his collection. In fact, in Much Ado About Nothing, (circa 1598 or 1599) Benedick quotes: “Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor 'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.’”
  • Be Bold, Be Bold: A Radio Drama
    Synopsis: Embracing her boldness, young Lady Mary visits her mysterious lover’s home while he is away. There, she discovers a deadly secret.

    Loosely based retelling on Joseph Jacobs’ variation of “Mr. Fox.” Jacobs collected “Mr. Fox” in 1890; however, the tale certainly predates his collection. In fact, in Much Ado About Nothing, (circa 1598 or 1599) Benedick quotes: “Like the old tale, my lord...
    Synopsis: Embracing her boldness, young Lady Mary visits her mysterious lover’s home while he is away. There, she discovers a deadly secret.

    Loosely based retelling on Joseph Jacobs’ variation of “Mr. Fox.” Jacobs collected “Mr. Fox” in 1890; however, the tale certainly predates his collection. In fact, in Much Ado About Nothing, (circa 1598 or 1599) Benedick quotes: “Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor 'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.’”
  • Bad Fit: A 10-Minute Play
    Andrea has had it up to her ears with Rocco’s new sidepiece, a fitness gizmo.
  • The Blouse That Swallowed Roma's Head: A 10-Minute Play
    After dieting and exercising herself into a frenzy, Roma’s ready to rock her new bod. She squeezes into a too-too-tight top and launches a rescue attempt.
  • Ethnically Ambiguous: A 10-Minute Play
    Ethnically ambiguous Maria battles discrimination because of her appearance and discovers strength in intersectional sisterhood.
  • Coyote's Moon: A 10-Minute Play
    It's brains against brawn when clever Little Rabbit outwits ravenous Coyote.
  • She Said: A Monologue
    A rape survivor claims her power.
    Semi-finalist Women in the Age of Trump, NYC Playwrights, 2017
  • Glacial Decline: A 10-Minute Play
    Recovering in the hospital from the death of her firstborn, Chiara is unable to access her emotions until nurse Venus reveals her own loss.
  • Gonna Need to See Some ID
    Sizzurup? Bombs? A suspicious cashier interrogates customers as they attempt to make purchases.

    Published in Applause, Best American Short Plays 2014-2015
  • Manspread Madness: A 10-Minute Mime
    In this play performed without dialogue, a bullying Manspreader refuses to close his legs and make space for the women on a subway--until they unite to thwart him. Intersectional sisterhood!
  • Waylay Makeover: A 10-Minute Play
    On-air personalities Dominique and Abner waylay unsuspecting Beth for a forced makeover.

    Anthologized in: Applause, She Persisted: New Plays By Women Over 40 2022.
  • Woo Her Like a Badass: A 10-Minute Play
    Ralphie can’t get the hang of wooing his ladylove beneath her balcony. Good thing Romeo and Cyrano show up.
  • You're Hired! A 10-Minute Play
    In a joint interview for a single position, a surprise interviewee pulls out all the stops to snag the job.
    Included in Applause Best American Short Plays 2015-2016

  • Proverbs: A 10-Minute Play
    When grieving Fiona kicks out her cheating lover, she seeks proverbial wisdom at the pub.
  • External Combustion
    Don’t provoke, don’t respond! On her last day of work before retirement, Tara encounters a road-raging menace behind the wheel.
  • With Love For Our Brother Man
    When a police officer detains and torments Makayla for “Grieving While Black,” Makayla is unable to contain her eruption of loss.
  • CHRISTMAS BEAST
    Yeah, it’s a weird-ass tale. Not your typical holiday fare. But whatever. After yet another battle with Grandma Min, Malachy high-tails it to the park swings and unearths a bloody severed toe. Cool, right? Until the Christmas Beast hunts for its lost digit.
  • SELKIE
    A monologue. Seven years after a brutish fisherman stole her sealskin and forced her to become his wife on land, a selkie discovers the precious coat. Before she returns to her long-lost seal husband and daughters, the selkie exacts revenge long years in the making.
  • IT'S JUST ZOOM
    Viv, owner of It’s Just Brunch, adapts to social distancing to connect her client Zoe with prospective dates for The After Times. Adaptation and resilience for the win!
  • WHEN YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW: A Non-Binary Character Monologue
    A non-binary person hides from a bully in their high school library. In the safe space Ms. Vitali the librarian provides, they explore their intense resonance with a beloved children’s book author.

    This piece will be published in Smith & Kraus WE/US: Monologues for Gender Minority Characters Anthology.
  • NO MASK, NO SERVICE, NO SHIT: A FEMALE MONOLOGUE
    An essential worker pulls door duty at the grocery store to enforce the NO MASK, NO SERVICE rule. Their second job is an entirely different story. And that's NO SHIT.
  • VERTEBRAE, CLAUSTROPHOBIA, AND DANIEL DAY-LEWIS
    A female monologue. Hobbled with a back injury and trapped in a hulking MRI machine, a claustrophobic Boomer launches a ferocious flight of ancestral fancy set to the theme song she plays in her head.
  • WORK HUSBAND
    Months into COVID Quarantine, Candace announces to her work husband that she’s ready to see other people.
  • King Leer
    Synopsis: Suffering malaise and writer’s block during yon dread Plague, Shakespeare is visited by the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, who helps him breathe life into a new work.
  • DO THESE JEANS MAKE MY BUTT LOOK MASSIVE?
    Freaked out Serafina hasn’t been on a date in ages. Just minutes before the doorbell rings, Coco rustles up a head-to-toe makeover.
  • LUNCH LADY: A FEMALE MONOLOGUE
    "‘Course I’m terrified. Scared shitless. But I got a job to do." An essential worker experiences her own food insecurity while ensuring hungry kids eat lunch at home and at school.
  • WTAF: THE ACRONYM ZOOMPLAY
    When Glenda jettisons her cheating husband, she seeks acronymical wisdom to stick to her guns. Just kidding [J/K]. She always takes him back.
  • KILLER CHRISTMAS SWEATER
    After dieting and exercising herself into a frenzy for the Christmas Eve bash, Roma’s ready to rock her new bod. She squeezes into a too-too-tight sweater in a fitting room. And can’t escape its deadly clutches.
  • SKULLDUGGERY
    Mason, a treasure seeking ex-con, surreptitiously digs at the site of an ancient burial ground, intending to sell the artifacts he unearths. Until he disturbs an ancient spirit.
  • CHICKEN-FRIED CATFISH
    Following the murderous rampage of the Capitol Insurrection, Sylvia uses a dating app to hook and reel in a rampaging traitor.
  • URBAN MAGIC
    In their new neighborhood, sisters Jamie and Alexis walk to their schools for a trial run. Jamie’s thrilled with a new big-city adventure; Alexis yearns for the rural wonders of their former river town. Where’s the magic?
    Including in the compilation "Walking Plays."
  • PADDY AND THE MERMAID: AN AUDIO PLAY
    When lonely Paddy captures a mermaid and steals her little red cap so she loses all memories of the sea, she truly becomes a fish out of water.
  • SKULLDUGGERY: A RADIO PLAY
    Mason, a treasure seeking ex-con, surreptitiously digs at the site of an ancient burial ground, intending to sell the artifacts he unearths. Until he disturbs an ancient spirit.
  • STAYIN' ALIVE: A Female Monologue
    A young woman prepares to leave home for the day to go to work and then meet a friend for cocktails. She arms herself against potential rapists, as Mama, a rape survivor, taught her to do.
  • OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE
    We’re talking meta. An angsty actor freaks out as he watches himself perform Hamlet’s “to be” speech.
  • THE HAUNTED WIDOW LINCOLN'S SÉANCE
    Widow and former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln is desperate to reach across the spirit realm and commune with her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, ten years after his assassination. She falls prey to the scamming Madame Marvalosa, until a séance yields unexpected results.