Margaret O'Donnell

Margaret O'Donnell

Margaret O'Donnell is an MFA candidate in playwriting at Hollins University. Her play The Detention Lottery was performed monthly in various locations in the Seattle area from June 2018 to February 2020, and Undocumented was produced at Burien Actors Theatre’s Showcase, Seattle Playwrights Salon, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral Drama Ministry in 2016. The Detention Lottery was selected for a reading at the...
Margaret O'Donnell is an MFA candidate in playwriting at Hollins University. Her play The Detention Lottery was performed monthly in various locations in the Seattle area from June 2018 to February 2020, and Undocumented was produced at Burien Actors Theatre’s Showcase, Seattle Playwrights Salon, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral Drama Ministry in 2016. The Detention Lottery was selected for a reading at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival 2021, Region IV, in February 2021. She developed On Cabin Creek and Deadline 2037 with Seattle Playwrights Salon and Seattle Playwrights Studio, and Detained with Fauntleroy Church. A staged reading of Deadline 2037 was part of the 2020 Hollins Playwrights Festival in Roanoke, Virginia in July 2020. An excerpt from Deadline 2037 will be performed at the 12th Women Playwrights International Conference in Montreal in June 2022. Her play Lucia was developed in February 2021 in Hollins University Playwrights Lab New Play Development Series. She is a co-founder of the Seattle Playwrights Salon, and holds a B.A. in English Literature from Purdue University, and a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Plays

  • Deadline 2037
    Full-Length. 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...
    Full-Length. 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
    Full-Length. 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...
    Full-Length. 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.
  • Not Normal
    One-Act. The monster of climate crisis is staring eleven year old Savannah right in the face, and she’s petrified. She is convinced she’s too young, too ignorant, and too powerless to help stop the destruction, and she despairs in her attempts to write poetry and make videos calling for change. When the non-human beings of the Earth – animal, plant, and mineral -- call a council to inspire humans to take action...
    One-Act. The monster of climate crisis is staring eleven year old Savannah right in the face, and she’s petrified. She is convinced she’s too young, too ignorant, and too powerless to help stop the destruction, and she despairs in her attempts to write poetry and make videos calling for change. When the non-human beings of the Earth – animal, plant, and mineral -- call a council to inspire humans to take action, though, it’s Savannah they invite to sit in the seat reserved for humans. The trees, forest deities, and the council of all beings shower their pledges of help on Savannah, but it may not be enough to convince her of her own abilities. That’s where a little forest magic may come in handy… A play for young audiences.
  • On Cabin Creek
    Full-Length. 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...
    Full-Length. 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
    One-Act. 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...
    One-Act. 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
    Full-Length. 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...
    Full-Length. 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.
  • Sibs
    One-Act Radio Play. Shouldn’t grown siblings be friends? Or at least friendly? Ann thinks it’s disgraceful that she
    and her brothers are estranged, and sets out to correct the situation. But Dave and Jim resist her
    efforts. Can’t they just dislike one another in peace?
  • In the Playground of the Gods
    One Act. Life on Earth is headed for extinction, and the powerful god Blore is delighted. He goads humans to indulge in their worst instincts of greed, envy, and distrust of the other. But the god Shimmer, who delights in the Earth’s beauty, is determined Blore won’t succeed. The trouble is that Shimmer isn’t powerful at all. She can accept the help of the mischievous god Haki, who she suspects of ulterior...
    One Act. Life on Earth is headed for extinction, and the powerful god Blore is delighted. He goads humans to indulge in their worst instincts of greed, envy, and distrust of the other. But the god Shimmer, who delights in the Earth’s beauty, is determined Blore won’t succeed. The trouble is that Shimmer isn’t powerful at all. She can accept the help of the mischievous god Haki, who she suspects of ulterior motives, or she can go it alone with her flawed humans. The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance.
  • Lucia
    Full-Length. Lucia is running for City Council in her adopted city, but no one is giving her any encouragement. Her city government-funded job is on the line due to her political activity, and her ex-spouse is stalking her, despite a protection order against him. She’s an immigrant with an accent, no political experience, and a conviction that the city can treat its poor much better. She’s going to need a miracle.
  • Haven
    One Act. Cherry’s beloved Woodhaven is a nationally-celebrated sanctuary for rare and endangered plants and animals. But she’s getting older, and there’s no one to take on the sanctuary. A hungry housing developer is waiting to bulldoze it. When a young woman running from the law stumbles into the sanctuary and Cherry’s life, her desperation collides with Cherry’s hopes. She may be the answer to Cherry’s...
    One Act. Cherry’s beloved Woodhaven is a nationally-celebrated sanctuary for rare and endangered plants and animals. But she’s getting older, and there’s no one to take on the sanctuary. A hungry housing developer is waiting to bulldoze it. When a young woman running from the law stumbles into the sanctuary and Cherry’s life, her desperation collides with Cherry’s hopes. She may be the answer to Cherry’s dilemma. Then again, she might blow the sanctuary apart. A modern retelling of the universal myth of the Earth goddess and her lost daughter.
  • Local Deity
    10 minutes. Things are looking grim at the face mask factory. Long-timer Kel refuses to help the new kid learn the ropes, and the factory cat seems to have some serious delusions of grandeur. Productivity quotas most definitely won't be met. This is a situation only a local deity can save. But first, you have to believe...