02 Aug OOB Final 30 Countdown – Seamus Sullivan
Only five more days until the festival! And today’s Final 30 countdown features Seamus Sullivan!
Seamus Sullivan likes writing about genre entertainment, terror, sex, music, and mortality. He’s a proud company member of Flying V Theatre, which has produced his plays Valkyrie in the Roller Disco, Me and the Devil Blues, and Incurable. He also works with Sacred Fools, for which he wrote the long-running serialized play Mr. Mimblegast. His work has appeared at Rorschach Theatre, the Source Festival, Page-to-Stage, Bethesda Play in a Day, and Arena Stage’s downstairs series. He co-wrote and co-produced the web series Titus and Dronicus, which is about Shakespearian detectives and can be seen at www.titusanddronicus.com.
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
Wanting to write goes back to elementary school, when I spent a year or two writing and drawing my own monthly comic book, Lightning Man, which was basically Superman in a motorcycle helmet so I didn’t have to draw as many faces. I started writing plays as an undergrad at Georgetown, which has a number of longstanding student theatre groups. Mostly I worked with Mask & Bauble, where I got to act and direct, and I moved into writing from there. It was one of the first times I’ve gotten to see my work made into something tangible that didn’t involve me doing it with crayons, so I stuck with it.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
Flying V, my theatre company back in DC, first commissioned this play last fall as part of The Bleeding Heart Show, which was a series of short plays inspired by the songs of the New Pornographers. I was given a few songs to choose from and went with Valkyrie in the Roller Disco, from the album Together, because who wouldn’t want to write a play about a Valkyrie? The way things play out for Bridget and Hillevi in the script is a microcosm of what was happening in a very important relationship of mine at the time. Minus the Valkyrie.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
“This speech is too long.”
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Genre writers, more than anything. Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson (although I’m not nearly as subtle as her or as good as any of them, yet). Also comic book writers and artists like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Mark Waid, and Dwayne McDuffie. Scott Snyder’s a contemporary writer I admire who does prose and comics, and his work in comics in particular is emotional and personal while not being afraid to be big and imaginative and over-the-top, and that’s all stuff I try to do too.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
The Seafarer by Conor McPherson. Anything by McPherson, really. Dead City by Sheila Callaghan. It’s boring to say Hamlet, but Hamlet.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m developing two plays with Flying V: Brother Mario, which is a mash-up of Chekhov and Super Mario Brothers, and The God of Yes, which is a Lovecraftian horror story set in an office.
His play Valkyrie in the Roller Disco will be performed on August 12th at 6:30pm. Featuring roller derby competitor Bridget, aka Beth From Above, she meets with her ex, Hillevi, for the first time since their breakup. If they can make it through a conversation together, they just might salvage their friendship. Also, Hillevi’s a Valkyrie.