Genius Genius of the Day: Paul Mullin
posted by September 11 at 12:55 PMon
Some reactions when I told Seattle theater people that Paul Mullin had won this year’s Genius Award for theater:
Paul is a genius.
Paul’s a blowhard.
Paul’s a punk.
Paul is brilliant, passionate, and always itching for a fight.
Which is part of what makes him a genius—he’s a tough, polarizing, no-quarter kind of guy. From my profile of Mullin in this week’s paper:
… his anger is focused and generative, an anger that makes things happen: “We’re all going to be dead soon,” he says as night falls in his backyard. “And we’re never going to feel properly compensated for it. So just do the work. Just do it.” He finishes his bourbon. “Want another?”
Mullin’s conversation is fast, passionate, and occasionally bruising—it is easy to imagine him as a Tammany Hall politician. “I know everyone and I forget nothing,” he says, recalling a story of an actor who abandoned one of his fringe productions for a union job and who, years later, came asking to be in one of Mullin’s plays. Mullin wouldn’t even let him audition.
And he has written some ass-kicking plays about science, death, radiation sickness, sex, and amnesia:
Mullin’s plays keep a delicate tension between the intellectual and the human—they are cerebral, but warm-blooded. His plays explore not just ideas but the effects of ideas. Mullin is, essentially, a gnostic playwright, drawing out the drama behind the discovery, the comedy behind the theory, and the knowledge behind the knowledge.
He’ll be at the Genius Awards party this Saturday, at the Moore, along with the rest of the Geniuses, The Stranger’s arts editors, and Dyme Def, Daedelus, James Pants, and the sweet, soulful sounds of The Emerald City Soul Club.
Plus: It’s free! You really should join us.