(Part of an informal blog series on the people who make Sonic Foundry tick. See more stories here.) 

Last weekend The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams opened at the Bartell Theatre in Madison, Wis. There’s drama, seduction, suspense and comedy, and our very own Patrick O’Hara is at the center of it all. (Check out the trailer.)

Patrick, Sonic Foundry’s Event Services Manager, plays the lead role of a defrocked Episcopal minister Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon in the 1940s. He’s leading a bus-load of Baptist women on a tour of Mexico, on the verge of another nervous breakdown.

“It’s me on stage for two hours. There’s some seduction. There’s some genuine cracking up in the show. It’s a fun role, probably the toughest I’ve played,” Patrick said. 

And he’s got a lot to compare it to. Patrick estimates he’s been in about 100 plays since high school. He’s got undergraduate and master’s degrees in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

“It’s that rush that you get in live performance that you don’t get anywhere else. You get to do things you can’t do in real life. You get to go through something and hopefully the audience shares it with you,” he said. “I’m actually more comfortable on stage than I am anywhere in real life. It’s where I thrive.” 

Patrick said amongst past roles, the one that stands out the most is The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a dark comedy about Irish terrorism. Long story, but it involves a rehearsal night at an old futon store on Monroe St. in Madison, his character holding weapons in front of two guys who were tied up, a scared passerby who didn’t realize they were rehearsing a play and the S.W.A.T. team. 

“I’m glad they didn’t shoot. I guess there was a 19-man parameter. It was fairly serious. The media truck showed up and we sold a lot of tickets to the show after that,” he said. 

Watch Patrick explain it all:

What: The Night of the Iguana

Where: The Evjue Stage at The Bartell, Madison, Wis. 

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26, 27, 28, Oct. 3, 4, 5; Sunday Matinee Sept. 29 @ 2 p.m.

Cost: Tickets are $20 and may be purchased in advance through the Bartell Theater website: www.bartelltheatre.org or by calling 608.661.9696.