“I started doing theatre in 4th grade. I really liked it and I kept doing it,” CHS senior Tessa O’Bryan said. “I knew then that I wasn’t to pursue it and make a career out of it. It’s funny, because as my senior year has gone on, I’m less sure that I want to be a full-time, professional actress. Regardless, I’ll still do theatre, but maybe just not as my number one job. This is a reason why I want to go to college and figure it all out.”
O’Bryan will be attending the University of Southern California this fall.
“I applied to 11 schools. I got into 7 out of the 11. It’s different because most schools I either auditioned or sent in a portfolio into, and there were two schools I didn’t audition for,” O’Bryan said.
O’Bryan is not interested in musical theatre– instead, she is pursuing acting. In addition, she is also interested in what goes into a play before it is seen on the main stage.
“USC is in the middle of LA, so I’d like to experiment with playwriting and screen-writing and film,” O’Bryan said. “The New York crowd is musical theatre, and LA is more film.”
O’Bryan has acted in Pippin, Charlie Brown, Pride and Prejudice, as well as other shows here at CHS.
Last year she spent her summer at a course at Missouri State developing her acting skills. She’s also been working with Clayton Community Theatre since she was in elementary school.
“We did a production of ‘The Women’ so it was a cast of all women,” O’Bryan said. “So I was 17, and everyone there was old enough to be my mother or my grandmother. It was really cool to be in this company. I was constantly given advice about life and theatre and the world.”
As her final year comes to a close, O’Bryan gives advice to those who are interested in pursuing theatre later as well.
“Keep an open mind,” O’Bryan said. “Some careers are very set—theatre is not like that at all. A lot of me wishes it were. Go with the flow. Keep looking; keep trying.”
Photo of Tessa O’Bryan.