Meet Jo Sullivan, Agnes in BUG

Jo Sullivan (Agnes White) is thrilled to be working with Dominion Stage for the first time. The cast, board and leadership and support from Jennifer and the production team has been such a gift and as she watched the audition notice go up and counted the days til the audition – it really was an honor to get that call offering her the part. Jo has been acting on and off her whole life in productions as varied as Viola in Twelfth Night in Westchester, NY all the way to Jenny Malone in Chapter Two (CP). Her first love is always the dark and twisty so Agnes fits that perfectly. Having explored Tracy Letts before as Barbara in August: Osage County she thought she knew what she was in for – but Agnes is the most perfectly broken character Letts has created to date. In her daily life, Jo is a fundraising and nonprofit professional but is taking an unplanned mid-life crisis to explore other fields and currently studying to become an Addiction Counselor. HUGE thanks to Dan – the best line drill man who has never been on stage.

Jo Sullivan 1 240x300 Meet Jo Sullivan, Agnes in BUG

Jo Sullivan as Agnes White in BUG

Come see Jo and the rest of the cast in Bug by Tracy Letts, Oct. 3-18, 8pm; Gunston Theatre One, 2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington. Buy Tickets Now!

What do you find most appealing about this show and your role in it?

I became a Lett’s fan after doing August: Osage County. There is something sad, vulnerable and tragic in his characters. He spins stories of mental illness, addiction and dysfunction in a way that’s believable and recognizable today’s society. For BUG – I was drawn to Agnes because I saw parts of me in her – the good and the bad – and exploring her as a character was also an exploration in some dark and twisty stuff in me. Each of the characters brings a set of demons into the hotel room and how the story unfolds is intense and tragic – but more importantly – real because of the depth of characters the play and Jennifer Lyman allows us to build.

How long have you been involved in theatre and what made you get into it?

I am too old to actually count years!! But, I can say my Mother used to tell me when I was 3 or 4 I used to tell her I wanted to be Dr. Doolittle or Carol Burnett. So, most of my life I have been in or around theater. There were periods I just didn’t have the time to commit because life did what life does – but never more than 18 months or so before I’d find a way back to my first love!

What creeps you out the most?

Spiders. I am HORRIBLY afraid of spiders, And have a visceral reaction to them….I tend to want to go all Peter and tape up the house with plastic and bug bomb the crap out of everything. Sad but true….I’ve made myself physically ill tracking a spider all over the house and spraying a mushroom cloud of raid. Whole can…….mostly fuming around my face…..had a headache for days.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?

If you want to transition to something professional…patience, commitment, build a network and be ready to hear “no” a lot!

What have you learned about yourself in doing this show?

Like all shows that force me to go somewhere dark and twisty – I like the journey. I relish the opportunity to go into worlds like this as a voyeur and it also touches some real life experiences of mine – so it is a cheap form of therapy. Or more expensive depending on how I look at it!

When a scene calls for you to display hatred, what do you think about?

I had a director once tell me that anger and hatred were boring. That every character had SOMETHING redeeming in the character you feel the emotion toward OR how you react if you’re on the “hate” side. I’m not sure I’ll ever be that good. But – I do try. I try to think of Goss – and maybe the time he picked up diapers and brought flowers or whatever….and hope a tender spot emerges before he’s an a** again and the hate and anger take over

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