we're all athletes
As the last broadcast of the season (or maybe ever?) goes into its last minutes, two sports news anchors and their hapless field reporter attempt to make sense of a game that has a very tenuous connection to the basic principles of sports while dealing with their own existential dread. As the game descends into violence and chaos that may or may not be the way it’s always been, the characters wonder how future generations will look back on the current one.
Seth McNeill is a New York City based theatre artist who has worked on both new and very old plays at Dixon Place, Theatre for a New Audience, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Fresh Ground Pepper, Amios NYC, The Barrow Group, Primary Stages, Exquisite Corpse, Up Theater Company, the American Shakespeare Center, TinyRhino, Rule of 7×7, The Amoralists, The Farm Theater, Downtown Urban Arts Festival, and Metropolitan Playhouse. He has been commissioned by Amios First Draughts, has received residencies at the Hambidge Center and the Fresh Ground Pepper BRB Retreat, and has been named a semifinalist for the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries Prize and Primary Stages ESPA Drills, and is a two-time recipient of the Vera Mowry Roberts Fellowship. Member of the Dramatists Guild. Education: Masters from Hunter College, Circle in the Square.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
As a weird homeschooled kid in the rural and small town South and Midwest, I didn’t realize theatre was a thing you could do until I was almost twenty. I had written essays and bad short stories as class assignments before that, but my first play (which I unfortunately found a copy of recently under my bed) was my senior year of undergrad. I don’t think there was a single Eureka moment, but once I actually met living people who could put interesting words on a page for other people to speak, I quickly figured out that I wanted to do that too.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I wrote the play for the Shotz series produced by Amios NYC from three prompts that I don’t remember anymore. I couldn’t tell you what the inspiration was other than that the first draft was one of the easiest things I’ve written. Maybe because I don’t care about sports? From there it’s turned into two different plays as I’ve done revisions to the short version as well as written a full length that was also commissioned by Amios. I gave the full length version the same title just to confuse people.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Sad but also funny … hopefully.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Beckett, Pinter, Faulkner, Anne Washburn, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, my family & friends, my wife, growing up as a weird kid.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
People are always surprised that I’m from Mississippi, probably because I don’t have a noticeable accent, have healthy teeth, and wear shoes.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Endgame, Mr Burns, A Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, An Octoroon, Pillowman, Long Day’s Journey, The Seagull, Thom Pain, 10 out of 12, Dance Nation, Plano.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Continuing to work on a weird Southern Gothic play called “Natchetoches,” which should get workshopped very soon. I don’t know if it will, but it should. Also, the full length version of “we’re all athletes” will likely get a staged reading once the apocalypse looks less likely.