Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy comes to playwriting through her fascination with myth, and theatre as the first place we relive our stories. She sees “the hero’s journey” in contemporary, everyday life; in the heroes and heroines of legend she sees the struggles of the average human being. The female characters of mythology are a continuing source of inspiration for her creative work; her plays give them voice to tell...
Margaret McCarthy comes to playwriting through her fascination with myth, and theatre as the first place we relive our stories. She sees “the hero’s journey” in contemporary, everyday life; in the heroes and heroines of legend she sees the struggles of the average human being. The female characters of mythology are a continuing source of inspiration for her creative work; her plays give them voice to tell their own story. Her use of heightened language monologue spices colloquial dialogue. McCarthy understands the stage as the original home for poetry and theatre its natural medium.

McCarthy’s background as a working photographer influences her way of telling stories; her plays
strive to meld the pleasure of the ear and the eye.

The Sacrificial King: A Play for John Lennon was given a New York City production by The World 3 Theatre Company, preceded by staged readings at The English Speaking Union in New York City and Duke University, N.C. In both 2016 and 2009, the young theatre artists of Duxbury High School’s Thespian Troup chose this script (of any) to perform as their entry to The Boston Globe’s Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild (METG) Festival. Their productions at Boston’s John Hancock Theatre took festival awards.

Deirdre Retrograde, based on the heroine of Irish myth, resulted from McCarthy’s ongoing involvement with the literature of women in Celtic myth. The play was read at La Mama Theatre, NYC, as part of
its Experiments Reading Series, and recently as part of Dreamcatcher Entertainment’s Talent On Tap Reading Series.

Her poetry collection NOTEBOOKS FROM MYSTERY SCHOOL (Finishing Line Press, 2015) was a New Women’s Voices Award finalist.

Her work has been performed at Irish American Writers and Artists (IAW&A) monthly salons and in programs at Poetic Theatre, NYC, The English Speaking Union of New York and The Hudson Valley Writers Association.

McCarthy's writing has appeared in numerous literary magazines, journals and anthlogies, including: The Pagan Muse:Poems of Ritual and Inspiration, Working Papers in Irish Studies, Home Planet News, Gargoyle Magazine, Shaking Like A Mountain: On line Literature about Contemporary Music, Poetry New Zealand, California State Poetry Society Quarterly, O!!ZONE, Xanadu, Caprice , Matrix, The Poet, Poets and Peace International to name a few. McCarthy has also reviewed for Groundswell Magazine, New Directions for Women and The Chiron Review.

She has been a guest artist in residence at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ragdale Foundation and The Hambidge Center, all of which have awarded her writing fellowships.

She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, PEN America and The Authors Guild.

McCarthy works as a professional photographer in New York City; her landscape photographs and images based on Celtic myth have been widely exhibited. She publishes an electronic broadside,
A VISION AND A VERSE (www.avisionandaverse.com) an e-pub combining her imagery and verse.

Plays

  • DEIRDRE RETROGRADE
    A witch. A king. A prophecy. A frustrated beauty taking her destiny – and her man –
    into her own hands. An elopement. Revenge. Betrayal. Magic. The power of poetry. These elements simmer and boil over in the cauldron that is Deirdre’s story.

    Deirdre, the heroine of Irish myth, defies a prophecy made about her at birth and takes charge of her own life. With humor and pathos, a...
    A witch. A king. A prophecy. A frustrated beauty taking her destiny – and her man –
    into her own hands. An elopement. Revenge. Betrayal. Magic. The power of poetry. These elements simmer and boil over in the cauldron that is Deirdre’s story.

    Deirdre, the heroine of Irish myth, defies a prophecy made about her at birth and takes charge of her own life. With humor and pathos, a secluded adolescent woman “finds her voice”, awakening to life, love and her own creativity using the power of her own words as magic language -- poetry as spell-casting.

    Deirdre is being raised in seclusion by the female Druid and witch, Levorcham, who acts as Deirdre’s spiritual guide, educating her in magic. As Levorcham invites us into the circle she casts, the events in the play happen both “in and out of time”.

    Defying efforts to control her, Deirdre runs off with the man she chooses - the warrior, Nye. They are pursed across continents by Conchobor, the King she was promised to, who seems to relent and forgive, only to betray them. Guided by her intuition, it is the story of Deirdre’s autonomy even when her fortunes turn.

    Springing from Levorcham’s cauldron, the characters in this ancient Irish myth find themselves meeting again, re-living their story to understand the forces still binding them. They struggle with free will versus fate, independence versus duty, jealousy versus unconditional love, revenge versus forgiveness. They know they are being tested; does that help them choose wisely?

    Exploring our ideas about beauty and power, learning and forgiveness, the play asks: Can a prophecy be outwitted? How many times must we repeat our mistakes in order to learn? Just how hard is it to forgive each other? Can we forgive and find peace on a journey we seem bound to keep repeating?

    A classic Celtic romance in the genre of Tristan and Isolde, Deirdre’s story goes further: it celebrates the driving, creative female spirit as a harbinger of true love, knowledge and change.

  • THE SACRIFICIAL KING: A PLAY FOR JOHN LENNON
    The play about art, creativity and imagination parallels scenes from the life of John Lennon and a teen girl who is a Beatle fan and an aspiring young artist herself. As she comes of age during that explosive era, the teen daughter’s idealism clashes with her mother’s common sense realism. Amidst the social and political turbulence of the time, both artists find family expectations and loyalty to best...
    The play about art, creativity and imagination parallels scenes from the life of John Lennon and a teen girl who is a Beatle fan and an aspiring young artist herself. As she comes of age during that explosive era, the teen daughter’s idealism clashes with her mother’s common sense realism. Amidst the social and political turbulence of the time, both artists find family expectations and loyalty to best friends test the creative paths they must follow. Ultimately, both must confront what fame, or its lack, means to them. Does fame create an aura of obscene ownership? Was it ever different? The play’s over-riding question: What in our nature causes us to build up and then tear down our heroes? This ancient part of the human psyche is explored as it’s acted out in our own contemporary culture.