Friday, July 31, 2015

Spotlight On...Sean Murphy

Name: Sean Murphy

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Education: BFA in acting from Otterbein University

Favorite Credits: Actor (Otterbein) - Lloyd in Noises Off, Jerry in At Home at the Zoo, Writer -- Sublets (a new series premiering in September)

Why theater?: I think some people’s brains fire incorrectly. The neurons signal the wrong response, causing someone to make strange or unusual connections. I’m one of those people I think, and it makes me terrible at sports but very artistically inclined. So, my broken brain, mixed with joining theater classes in elementary school to impress a girl I had a crush on sort of led to this lifestyle.

Tell us about The Starter: The Starter is a two act comedy based on Chekhov’s unpublished play Platanov. In a nutshell, it’s about how us young adults are not nearly as important as we think we are. It follows this young woman, Anna, returning back to her old home after her new life falls apart. She tries to pick up her life where she left off, even if it means dragging her friends back into the past with her.

What inspired you to write The Starter?: In Platanov, Chekhov talks about how self-hatred, believing oneself to be inherently bad, is just another form of narcissism. That struck me as an extremely modern idea, and it got me thinking about all these characters in a more modern setting. It felt like a play about youth to me -- a play about that awkward phase between adult and child. The more I thought about it, the more I enjoyed spending time with these characters. A year and half later, here we are.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love when theater plays with my expectations. Theater as a game with the audience is really one of my favorite ways to view a performance. I am constantly inspired by the work of Martin Mcdonagh, most notably for his rapid shifts between drama and comedy, leaving you never quite sure what the next moment will bring. I’m inspired by the theater when the set breaks, or the prop doesn’t work, or that actor missed his entrance. I think we forget sometimes that “Anything Can Happen In Live Theater” is a blessing, not a curse.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: ANYONE? Ah, man. Paul Thomas Anderson. Is that an alright answer? He’s not a theater guy, but I would love to work with him. Doing anything. I’d work at Starbucks with him. I’d work at the Greyhound station in Port Authority if he was my co-worker.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently I was ranting to all my friends about how good Guards at the Taj was. Rajiv Joseph’s just sticks onto you, and refuses to leave. Such a beautiful, funny, surprising show.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: If it’s a biopic about me as an adult -- Stephen Merchant. Otherwise, there is this recurring extra in the writer’s room of "30 Rock" that looks identical to me, so I guess I would give it to him. It could be his big break. What would it be called? "Sean!" Not particularly inventive, I’m aware, but look how exciting that exclamation point makes it. You’d go see a movie called "Sean!" You’d literally have to be insane not to.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: At first I was thinking I would like to go back to ancient Greece to watching some Oedipus or some such play, but your question doesn’t necessarily mention that I can travel forward in time once I’m done -- and I have no desire to be stuck in Greece. I look terrible in white. So, not knowing the precise nature of this time travel of mine, I’d probably go with Hamilton while it was still at The Public.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Ke$ha. I can listen to Ke$ha all damn day.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Getting a better paycheck.

What’s up next?: The series I’m currently writing, "Sublets", is coming out in September. It’s very funny and I highly recommend it.

For more on The Starter, visit