THE MAGDALEN WHITEWASH
by Valerie Goodwin
This is a play I wrote in 2002, about the Irish laundries set up in convents for the ”fallen women” who were mostly young abused girls, locked away by their families and who had their babies adopted.
The last one closed in 1996.
However some of the children of the ‘Maggies’ came and met me when it was staged by a group in Dublin and I flew over and met them.
They said: ‘Thank you for telling my mother’s story’.
Running time: 90 minutes ( with songs, and ‘ballet’ with sheets).
Set: can be a simple as a washing line hung with sheets, some benches, baskets of sheets, tin baths and buckets.
Characters (in order of appearance) :
Girl / Nancy 16 years old. Self-assured. American
Mary (old) 28 years old. Institutionalised and resigned to her fate.
Mary (young) Nearly 13, a bit of an ‘eejit’. lived alone with her father.
Sister Ignatia About 40 years old. fairly kind natured.
Bernadette A resident at the laundry for about 10 yrs. A natural poet. The identity of her child’s father has been kept a secret.
Martha Made pregnant by a married man. Resident for about 2 years.
Assumpta Bitter. About 20 years old. Has only just had her baby. Father refused to marry her, and went off to England.
Angela Had her baby a month ago. Is still hopeful about leaving. Her cousin got her pregnant.
Marie Aged 64. Resident for about 50 yrs.
Pauline The joker. 15 years old and nearly due. The boy has now married a rich widow.
Father Doyle Early 30’s, Very ‘Stephen Tompkinson’. Believes in the sins and the penance. Tries to help the girls. Sincere.
Sister Margaret A bit dithery. New to the Magdalen.
Father O’Connell Mid-50’s. A nasty, perverted type.
Jim A delivery man.
Donal Another delivery man.
Sister Gabriel About 30 years old. Very cold and strict.
Mother Superior Aged 60 plus. Distant and unyielding.
Mrs Doolan Pauline’s Mother.
Patricia 10 yr old orphan
Preview available here
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