The “��Shakespearean’ Couple
Theater brought them together.
Kathryn earned a Bachelors Degree at OU and a special drama teacher encouraged her to continue her studies in acting. She did. She went on to receive a Masters degree in theatre from the University of New York.
Then another man inspired Kathryn to begin outdoor Shakespeare plays, like the ones performed in New York’s Central Park. Jack O’Meara influenced her to begin Edmond’s Shakespeare in the Park before they married. Kathryn is a Co-founder and the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Park, giving artistic vision and direction.
“I first got interested in acting when I was young. We put on plays for our family and I enjoyed the directing.” That was long ago.
Shakespeare in the Park began in Edmond in 1985. Hafer Park had a stage and the Parks Department let them perform there free of charge. Three years later the tickets were still only $3. Then Jack passed away.
Kathryn had stayed in touch with her former OU Professor, Bob McGill. “She played in a couple of shows I directed,” said the professor who encouraged her in college. “She was a brilliant actress.” Their romance flourished through correspondence since at that time Bob was a professor at Wayne State University in Michigan. One of their first dates was to a Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. They fell in love and married. That was thirteen years ago.
Kathryn commuted back and forth between Michigan and Oklahoma for several years until Bob got a job at UCO where he is now the Theatre Department Chairman. Bob and Kathryn decided to settle in Edmond to raise their family. They now have two sons, Conner 12 and Patrick, almost 8. The boys like video games, books, nature, the trampoline, and their two dogs, a golden retriever and a miniature dachshund. Normal boy activities, even if they don’t get too excited about theatre, their parents passion.
“We are theatre people. It’s our hobby and vocation at the same time,” says Kathryn. The two are very busy, so for fun, they like to relax at home, reading a good book. “We have great discussions though, about acting, theatre, poetry, and books. There’s no competition between us. That helps.”
Bob agrees. “It’s obvious we have a lot of good artistic discussions. Often we inspire each other. The hard part is the demands that theatre puts on you.” Professor Bob McGill should know. He takes his job seriously. “I never thought I’d enjoy administration, but I take care of my people. I miss teaching although I still get to do a little bit.”
Lady MacBeth is Kathryn’s favorite Shakespearean character. “You get to go crazy, work out your frustrations and boss your husband around,” Kathryn laughs. She has also played other characters, like Juliet, the actress every young girl dreams of playing.
The couple’s favorite Shakespearean play is Twelfth Night. “There is something so life affirming in it. The lost shall be found,” says Bob with a flourish. However, they also agree that whatever play they are working on at the time is their favorite play. “You get a connection with the play when you are in the middle of it.”
The Hafer Park stage burned down twice; so last summer UCO built a small stage on campus for them. Auditioning and casting are complete for the current summer season and rehearsal starts the second week in May. This begins Kathryn’s busiest time of the year.
“I’m proud of Kathryn,” says Bob, “She has done such a service to the state. Many students have had their first glimpse of good theatre here.” Actually, Kathryn and Bob McGill together make a great team.
Don’t miss this years’ Shakespeare in the Park!