Cassie M. Seinuk (CS): I started writing plays before I ever knew that’s what I was doing. I was that kid who put on shows in her jungle gym with her cousins and made the parents sit around and watch. Between then and actually taking my first course in playwriting in undergrad, I mostly wrote fiction, and dabbled in TV writing. Even though I enjoyed my college playwriting course, it wasn’t until a thesis snafu in the fiction department, and the suggestion from my Stage Management mentor that I sat down to write my first full-length play, RUNNER: The Novel The Play, an adaptation of a novel I was writing. When I saw my characters come to life, I caught the bug and am now playwright through and through.
OOB: Let’s talk about your entry to this year’s Festival. How did you come to write this play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
CS: For the past year and a half I have had the privilege to work with the wonderful people at Nylon Fusion Collective Theatre in NYC, and participate in six of their “This Rounds On Us” (TROU) 10 minute play festivals. Since NFC produces new work I have had the challenge of writing a themed 10 minute play at least six times with them, and OCCUPY HALLMARK was a play I wrote and submitted to their 2013 Valentine’s Day TROU. But the real birthplace of this play came about years ago when a friend and I wanted to write some short scenes with one drunk character and one sober character. I maybe had a page of dialogue from that project that just sat on my computer until this past December when I thought, “Hey, what if this guy is protesting Valentine’s Day,” and so the rewriting began. Since then this play has been performed with NFC and also at the Marblehead Little Theatre’s TNT Festival in MA. It has also been work-shopped with my cohort at Lesley University where I just completed my MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen.
OOB: What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
CS: Two years ago, when my play THE MUSE was in the OOB Final 40, to this same question I answered, “Bold, Meta, Provocative, Unique, and Persistent.” Two years later there are a few words I’d like to switch out. Now I’d say, “Fearless, Provocative, Quirky, Full-of-Heart, and as always Persistent.”
OOB: What/who are some of the major influences on your writing? Do you have any sources of inspiration that might be considered unconventional?
CS: The major influences in my writing are always changing. Of course there are always playwrights that I feel are “speaking my language,” or at least a language I aspire to, like Samuel Beckett, Naomi Iizuka, David Harrower… Right now I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration in the people around me, like my writers group Interim Writers, and my colleagues from my MFA program. Talking with other writers about writing always gets my gears going. Unconventionally, I do love to eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations on buses, trains, and coffee shop.
OOB: What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
CS: I studied Mime in Ireland as part of a study abroad program in college. I have to say my mime skills have faded since, but I still break out in a mime routine every once and a while…
OOB: Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
CS: Well… I just left grad school with some pretty cool plays I am pretty proud of. I’m really excited about play I just wrote called FROM THE DEEP, here’s a little blurb about it: “When Andrew, a missing BU Grad Student, arrives in the surreal room of the missing, Ilan, an Israeli POW of five years, must convince Andrew to play the games, keep his mind active, and face the truth of his captivity before they both go missing forever.” …Any takers? Also, my short play EVEN AS I GO will be adapted into a short film this summer!