Margaret ODonnell

Margaret ODonnell

Margaret O’Donnell's first play, Undocumented, was produced in Seattle and showcased in Burien, Washington in 2016. The Detention Lottery has been produced monthly in northwest Washington State since June 2018. Her four other plays -- On Cabin Creek, Detained, Deadline 2037, and Retreat, have been workshopped in Seattle with the Seattle Playwrights Studio and Seattle Playwrights Salon. She is currently...
Margaret O’Donnell's first play, Undocumented, was produced in Seattle and showcased in Burien, Washington in 2016. The Detention Lottery has been produced monthly in northwest Washington State since June 2018. Her four other plays -- On Cabin Creek, Detained, Deadline 2037, and Retreat, have been workshopped in Seattle with the Seattle Playwrights Studio and Seattle Playwrights Salon. She is currently at work on a drama about women's access to power. She is the co-founder, artistic director emeritus, and current blogger for Seattle Playwrights Salon, http://seattleplaywrightssalon.com/, a nonprofit playwrights’ center providing development and learning opportunities to Northwest playwrights. She practices immigration law in Seattle, and will be a first-year MFA in playwriting student at Hollins University in 2020.

Plays

  • Retreat
    The vestry and staff of Saint Margaret’s Episcopal Church, in Seattle, meet for a retreat in an old hotel, a concession on the shores of a lake within a national park near Mt. Rainier. They seek to secure a big financial legacy that comes with conditions attached: they must increase Black church membership. The gods look on to debate whether to intervene to save humanity from itself.
  • Deadline 2037
    In 2037 in America, poverty has been nearly eliminated, carbon emissions are reduced by 80% over 2018 levels, all are covered by comprehensive health insurance, and every high school graduate is eligible for free tuition at the nation’s colleges and universities. All due, the government trumpets, to the federal funds freed up for social investment by the Quality of Life Act, which mandates death at age 75....
    In 2037 in America, poverty has been nearly eliminated, carbon emissions are reduced by 80% over 2018 levels, all are covered by comprehensive health insurance, and every high school graduate is eligible for free tuition at the nation’s colleges and universities. All due, the government trumpets, to the federal funds freed up for social investment by the Quality of Life Act, which mandates death at age 75. When a tiny group of elderly fighters in small town Illinois take on the law, the government reacts with fury. Who prevails may depend on the tactics each are willing to use. Do the ends justify the means?
  • Detained
    The locked steel-enforced prison doors of a US immigration detention center open and the audience walks inside to see the judge, clerk, Department of Homeland Security attorneys, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers, guards, detainees, and private immigration attorneys in their daily routine of preparing for court, moving detainees from cells to court to meetings, and court itself. Eight...
    The locked steel-enforced prison doors of a US immigration detention center open and the audience walks inside to see the judge, clerk, Department of Homeland Security attorneys, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers, guards, detainees, and private immigration attorneys in their daily routine of preparing for court, moving detainees from cells to court to meetings, and court itself. Eight detainees, including a child, reveal details of their lives, in the midst of great confusion, in the hope of winning release from detention. Those who work in the detention center also reveal themselves, their motivations, their hopes and fears, and sometimes, their own suffering.
  • On Cabin Creek
    How deep are the divisions between the working class and elites in Appalachia? Between men and women? Between blacks and whites? It is 1939, the waning years of the Great Depression. Samuel Lowe has died in a mine collapse, and his rudderless widow and two nearly grown children must vacate the company cabin and find a home and work in a land ravaged by a decade of poverty. The family’s secrets unearth...
    How deep are the divisions between the working class and elites in Appalachia? Between men and women? Between blacks and whites? It is 1939, the waning years of the Great Depression. Samuel Lowe has died in a mine collapse, and his rudderless widow and two nearly grown children must vacate the company cabin and find a home and work in a land ravaged by a decade of poverty. The family’s secrets unearth fissures no one seems to be able to bridge.

  • The Detention Lottery
    Immigration courtrooms hidden away in detention centers throughout the United States decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year. Immigration judges, appointed as employees of the federal government’s Department of Justice, are the sole decision-makers for the detained, eighty-four percent of whom don’t have lawyers to represent them or explain the process to them. The public is...
    Immigration courtrooms hidden away in detention centers throughout the United States decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year. Immigration judges, appointed as employees of the federal government’s Department of Justice, are the sole decision-makers for the detained, eighty-four percent of whom don’t have lawyers to represent them or explain the process to them. The public is definitely not welcome to observe. Outcomes vary wildly depending on the judge assigned to the case, and the most recent Administration-mandated interpretations of the law.

    The Detention Lottery, written by an immigration attorney, provides a first-hand look inside one such courtroom, as audience members are detained upon entry, assigned identities as immigrants, and must defend themselves against deportation as best they can in court, without preparation. The real-time immersive experience is followed by a question and comment period and is best conducted by experienced immigration attorneys.

    The script and all production materials are freely-licensed in Creative Commons: http://globallawadvocates.com/immigration-in-the-arts/the-detention-lottery-2/.

  • Undocumented
    A brush with police spins out of control for undocumented immigrant Fredy Lopez, when he’s arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and detained in immigration jail. The life he’s built after more than a decade in the U.S. shatters, and friends, social workers, lawyers, employers, pastor, immigration judge, and guards flood into the formerly private life he lived with his wife and daughter. What happens next...
    A brush with police spins out of control for undocumented immigrant Fredy Lopez, when he’s arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and detained in immigration jail. The life he’s built after more than a decade in the U.S. shatters, and friends, social workers, lawyers, employers, pastor, immigration judge, and guards flood into the formerly private life he lived with his wife and daughter. What happens next depends on factors no one seems to control.