Posting Date: September 4, 2009
Meet Sean Haley: Actor of many talentsBy Scott Singleton
Photograph by Melissa Withers
At Kennesaw State University, Sean Haley has played a headstrong coal miner, a “pants-less” Spartan, a misguided young man and a seafaring whale hunter. A senior Theatre and Performance Studies major at KSU, Sean enjoys the availability and diversity of performance in the department. “It’s a really exciting time to be at KSU,” he says. “It’s growing, and there are so many opportunities open to us.” He loves that he is able to interact closely with his professors, work in a variety of performance genres and perform in international competitions.
A native of Kennesaw, Sean attended Harrison High School and initially chose KSU for its proximity to home. After becoming involved with theater during his senior year in high school, he casually decided to pursue acting once he enrolled at KSU. “I went into theater not really planning to stay there, and I fell in love with the department.” Sean quickly began to develop his talent as an actor through the care, attention and enthusiasm of his professors. “The professors work with you,” he says. “They get to know you on an individual basis and know what kind of person you are, even your likes and dislikes.”
Since coming to KSU, Sean has participated in a wide variety of productions. As a freshman, he was cast in “Out of the Dark,” an ethnographic performance based on Virginia coal miners’ personal histories. Sean also performed as Spartan Herald in “Lysistrata” and Troy in “Memorabilia,” a modern interpretation of "The Glass Menagerie." Next, Sean performed in the re-adaptation of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Originally cast as a chorus member in the first performance of “Moby-Dick” at KSU in spring 2008, Sean stepped into the role of Ishmael when the production was reworked for the 21st Annual Festival International de Theatre Universitaire de Casablanca in Morocco.
Photographs by Melissa Withers
Sean traveled to Morocco with a group of TPS students and professors to perform “Moby-Dick” in July 2009. He describes the experience as "the perfect blend of insanity and discovery." According to Sean, the amount of self-discovery that results from traveling to a foreign country is invaluable. "In the stripping away of familiarities, you learn so much about yourself," he says. “Moby-Dick” won “Best Performance” in the international competition. Before traveling to Morocco, Sean studied in Ireland in summer 2008 at the Gaiety School of Acting.
Harrison Long, assistant professor of Theatre and Performance Studies, says, “Sean is one of the most dedicated students I have encountered at KSU. His work reflects a high level of preparation and creativity. He is a leader among his peers, always encouraging his classmates and providing insightful observations in a supportive and generous way.”
Currently, Sean is cast as Antipholus of Ephesus, a central character in the KSU performance of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” This is a drastic change from the chamber theater style of “Moby-Dick,” but Sean fully embraces the range of his newest role.
He considers the variety of performance methods at KSU an essential aspect of his growth as an actor. “If you’re into theater, there is something here that you will like, and there is a professor here who is going to help you find and work towards what you like.”
After graduating next fall, Sean plans to stay in the Atlanta area, pursue acting and possibly attend graduate school. A talented musician as well, Sean hopes to continue playing music and acting.