Kirkwood High School student newspaper

Senior profile: Matt O’Brien

May 12, 2016

Ever since Matt O’Brien appeared on stage as Hamlet in 2015, he has spent hundreds of hours rehearsing, preparing and performing in five different KH Players productions. Whether he is playing an intrusive backstage gangster (Kiss Me Kate) or an insensitive neighborhood jackass (Clybourne Park), Matt enjoys telling stories through his characters.

“There is a lot of truth in [acting],” Matt said. “I love it because it is extremely rewarding. It’s challenging and it brings out the best in you. [Acting] is something I feel very comfortable doing and something I’ll never get bored with.

Before Matt wore costumes on stage, he wore black in the shadows behind the curtain. From sixth to tenth grade, he was invested in technical theater, and from this, Matt’s theatrical career began.

“[The jump from technical theater to acting] felt natural because I had been involved with KH Players since freshman year and I knew everyone very well,” Matt said. “I had a different job, but I didn’t have to make new friends or connections. I miss doing tech, but I like acting as well and when it comes to doing a show I’d rather be acting.”

For Matt, the choice to go into professional acting was simple since he had been working on shows on and off stage for his entire high school career. Although he was originally considering Webster University’s conservatory program, which offers a college experience dedicated solely to acting, Matt ended up committing to the University of Kansas’ bachelor of arts program, which will allow him to focus on acting, music theory and his additional interests. Matt is excited for new college experiences and his future in the theater world.

“[I’m excited to] collaborate with other students who have been in different drama programs,” Matt said. “I have the KH Player skill set embedded in me. It’ll be interesting to see what other theater students can help me with.”

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