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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Jan 13, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 905: Seamus Sullivan

Seamus Sullivan

Hometown: Glenside, PA.

Current Town: Jersey City, NJ, by way of DC and LA.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  This month, I'm getting together with my friend Jason Schlafstein to start collaborating on a mythological wrestling epic he's had brewing in his head for years. I'm a wrestling outsider, so I'm looking forward to an educational process. I've also been writing a lot of short fiction lately, stuff about suburban superheroes and Greek mythology and even some realistic fiction, which I don't normally do. It's been a fun opportunity to build new muscles.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  In elementary school I wrote and drew my own comics, and they were wildly derivative, but I kept them up for a year or two, doing one comic every month. And I wasn't a great artist or a great writer or anything by the time I finished doing all those comics, but I proved that I could stick to a schedule, and I probably knew on some level that if you can do that for long enough then you'll probably write something good eventually.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Over the summer I interviewed some occasional theatergoers for a Theatre Development Fund project. The aim of the interviews was to get an understanding of why people did or didn't go to see plays. And one of the younger people we talked to, who didn't go to the theater often, said that she did go to sporting events all the time because she'd grown up going to sporting events, and it was a regular pastime in her hometown. And I thought about this, and my Dad did take me to plays at the Arden in Philadelphia when I was growing up, and I did theater in school, and that's probably why going to see plays is such a given for me now. So if I could change one thing, it would be for theater culture to be more widespread, more of a regular, community thing that you do with your family all the time, wherever you live. Easier said than done, I know. I think more arts education and lower ticket prices and shows that tap into the energy and fun of pop culture (quick shout-out to Jason's and my DC-area theater company Flying V here!) are all part of the solution. We'll probably never catch up to sports, but it should at least be easy for kids and adults who want to get into theater to get into theater.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater that plays with genre, like Conor McPherson writing ghost stories for the stage or The Honeycomb Trilogy doing a giant sci-fi family saga grounded in old school dramatic structure.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Write plays that make you happy, and work with people who make you happy. Not every play is going to work out exactly the way you want it to, creatively or professionally. So you should at least make sure you're having a good time and building relationships as you work.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  My next show with Flying V, Brother Mario, starts previews on February 23 in Bethesda, MD. It is a mashup of Chekhov and Super Mario Brothers. It will make you laugh and feel things, and may cause you to spend more time thinking about King Boo than is your wont.

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