Review Fix chats with playwright Seanie Sugrue, who discusses his new production, “Love is Dead,” breaking down the inspiration for the piece, his other work such as “Catch 22 and “One Way to Pluto,” as well as his goals for the future.
Love is Dead! will open at 13th Street for a run starting June 1.
Performance Schedule: June 1 & 2; 6 – 9; 13 & 14 @ 8pm; Special Matinee: June 5 @ 3pm
Review Fix: What did you learn from Fade To Black! and Black Me Out!?
Seanie Sugrue: With Black Me Out! I learned how to write a play. Prior to writing it, I had spent the previous year or so working on the feature film Catch 22 with Josh Folan. Josh was talking one day about a play he liked caled “In A Dark Dark House” by Neil LaBute. Before finishing the first act I had decided that this was what I wanted to do. I spent the next six months sitting on the floor at the Strand in Union Square teaching myself how to write a play.
Fade to Black!, in my opinion, is the darkest piece I have ever written and directing it was absolutely excruciating. We had a number of people leave at intermission each night crying, not to return for the second act. This piece is special to me for a number of reasons, one of them being that it’s the only work I’ve done that my parents have seen. My father still talks about how funny he thought the play was. I also got to work with James Anthony Tropeano III on both of these plays, which was a life-changing experience. I had also cast Jimmie in One Way To Pluto! but he tragically passed away last December.
Review Fix: What is punk theater?
Sugrue: I can’t even remember where this title originated from but we are kind of just going with it. We definitely do not follow any trends and we could care less if our stories hold any commercial value. We pride ourselves on touching on topics that many steer clear from. I titled my first play Black Me Out! as a tribute to my favorite punk band, Against Me!
Review Fix: How did it feel to be part of the Palm Beach Film Festival?
Sugrue: Palm Beach was an absolute blast. This industry is tough for so many reasons. You get to work with brilliant people, you spend every day with them for a few weeks or a few months and then once the shoot or the run ends you all go your separate ways. Film Festivals sort of feel like a reunion, it was amazing to catch up with the gang again. There was a great sense of gratification associated with watching all our hard work on the big screen.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Sugrue: This play is out there, all three acts are complete insanity. There’s everything from a prostitute having a heated conversation alone with her goldfish, a young man dealing with the aftermath of being raped by two women and it oozes sexism and hatred from start to finish. This play isn’t for everyone but if you do like to laugh and don’t take life too seriously you’re going to have a blast.
Review Fix: How important is your Irish heritage to your playwriting style?
Sugrue: Anyone that grows up in Ireland, whether they realize it or not, has at some point in their life dissected a play by Brian Friel. Growing up, “Philadelphia Here I Come” was my favorite play and was also a big influence behind the creation of Black Me Out!. About three months ago, I read “The Lieutenant Of Inishmore” by Martin McDonagh and wrote what would become Two Minute Kenneth! (act two of Love Is Dead!) the same night.
Review Fix: What was the Inspiration for this project?
Sugrue: Everything I have written prior to Love Is Dead! has been based on an element of truth. With this play I wanted to have fun, it is total fantasy, an exaggerated account of the modern day relationship and the pressures of fitting into an organized society. It’s incredibly violent, deals with the darkest issues imaginable, but is also very light in a delightfully peculiar way. This is the first play I’ve done that I consider a comedy, but I guess that’s not my decision to make.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Sugrue: Josh and I had such a good time shooting Catch 22 that we’ve decided to give it another go. We have already adapted Love Is Dead! into a screenplay and we plan on shooting it this August.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Sugrue: We received amazing feedback from One Way To Pluto! and some excellent reviews, except one. Reading a bad review is a humbling experience. Luckily I’ve been able to see the funny side to it and wrote a new play about a dysfunctional theater critic. It’s called Fancy Theater Blues! and I’ll certainly be inviting Satan himself to come see and review it.