F30 Countdown – Seamus Sullivan

We have two playwrights left to meet and the festival is almost ready to begin – where has the time gone? Thankfully there’s still a little time left to grab some tickets or a festival pass

After you have your tickets, let’s catch up with Seamus Sullivan. 

Seamus Sullivan writes plays and fiction. He mostly works with DC’s own Flying V Theatre and has written many plays for them, including Brother Mario, Twelve Angry Batmen, Me and the Devil Blues, Incurable, and Valkyrie in the Roller Disco, which was a finalist at last year’s OOB Festival. He’s thrilled to be back!

OOB Fun Fact: Since Seamus was a finalist in last year’s OOB Festival, you can read more about Valkyrie in the Roller Disco here


When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

For wanting to write generally, that desire emerged at an early age. As a kid I read a great deal, especially escapist sci-fi like Ray Bradbury and comic books, and I think I developed this assumption that it was just a given that I would try to write stuff like that too. Wanting to write plays specifically, that happened when I was at Georgetown, where there were a ton of student theater groups and you could do it all, acting, directing, writing, production design, stage crew, anything you were interested in. Realizing I could write stuff and then get my friends to help me stage it was, at the time, this intoxicating taste of power.

How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

Can I opt out of answering this one? But no, seriously, the play is me trying to dramatize the internal tension between being attracted to someone and not wanting to be a creepy, awful man who objectifies that someone. Which I think is a common problem, so hopefully people will see a little of themselves in the play and it’ll get some laughs. And it also draws some inspiration from working on the film set for a low-budget web series I made a few years ago with some friends. One of whom I’m now marrying!

What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?

“You made this overly complicated.”

What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

I love stories about work and process, and those were certainly an influence here. So, for example, the rehearsal scenes in Equivocation by Bill Cain, or the comics bullpen scenes in King Kirby by Crystal Skillman and Fred Van Lente. Or the celebratory spirit of collaboration that you get from Parks and Recreation.

What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

My fiancée tells me that when I try to speak Tamil to her I sound like the British villain in a Tamil movie.

What are some of your favorite plays?

This is a terrible, cop-out answer, but at any given moment my favorite play is usually something I’ve seen recently, often by people I know through theater, that has managed to surprise and blow me away, because then I get to enjoy it both as an audience member and as someone who’s watching a peer succeed at the difficult task of writing a play that works. So most of my favorite moments in theaters are hearing lines land in Flying V shows, or in works by fellow OOB playwrights, or in a new script by my fiancée or a play by someone my fiancée knows because she sees a million plays a year and is always introducing me to new writers.

Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

My friend Jason and I are developing an epic fantasy based on the world of professional wrestling. And my play Brother Mario, which is about the characters from Super Mario Brothers weathering an existential crisis in the style of Chekhov, had a wonderful Flying V production back in February in DC and I’d love to get it produced again. So if you’re a theater company and you’ve been waiting for that perfect Mario-meets-Chekhov script to come along, call me!


His play Sad 2 AM Sex Fantasy will be performed on August 8th at 6:30pm. Imagine you’re lying awake late at night trying to muster the energy for a dirty fantasy about someone you like. Now imagine there’s a tiny film crew that lives in your imagination and tries to stage that fantasy for you to watch in your mind’s eye. This is the story of that film crew.