Actress Kathleen O’Neal relishes the role of storyteller and will soon have an opportunity to perform in front of an international audience. As a recent UIW Theatre Arts graduate, O’Neal has chosen to live her dream by pursuing acting in New York, graduating from the Actor Studio Drama school with her MFA from Pace University. Most recently, she was selected to perform in All an Act at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, the world’s largest cultural and arts festival.
O’Neal came to the University of the Incarnate Word from Del Rio, Texas and found her calling in acting with the UIW theatre department and the close knit student community. Dr. Robert Ball served as a great inspiration to her and gave her some of the best acting lessons she’s ever received. Other student peers, including Lucy Sandy, encouraged her to continue her passion out of state. O’Neal followed her advice and travelled to New York for a summer program with the Circle in the Square Theatre school and also travelled abroad as a student.
When asked about the most important core values of Incarnate Word, she singled out truth as the most important in her life. “Theatre is all about truth,” she said. “It is an opportunity to change people and have them look at things from a new perspective. Ideally, you leave a piece of yourself both on the stage and in people’s minds.” Her advice for students and alumni is, “Make your own opportunities and don’t settle. There is so much more.” It’s clear that O’Neal had a life changing experience at Incarnate Word and strives to share that with others. She leaves us with a quote from Oscar Brockett, a prominent theatre historian, which sums up what her Incarnate Word experience taught her.
"Through roleplaying, (either in daily life or in the theatre), we come to understand who and what we are and to see ourselves in relation to others. Perhaps most important, in a world given increasingly to violence, the value of being able to understand and feel for others as human beings cannot be overestimated, because violence depends on dehumanizing others so that we no longer think of their hopes, aims and sufferings but treat them as objects to be manipulated or on whom to vent our frustrations. To know (emotionally, imaginatively, and intellectually) what it means to be human in the broadest sense ought to be one of the primary goals of both education and life; and for reaching this goal, no approach has greater potential than theatre, since humanity is its subject and human beings its primary medium.”