Hollywood actress dialogues with APU’s aspiring actors

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Kerris Dorsey answers Matthew Gilmore’s questions. Courtesy: Francesca Fromang

Hollywood actress Kerris Dorsey visited campus Tuesday for a lighthearted evening session with APU students, answering questions and offering advice to the Theater Department’s aspiring actors.

Dorsey, currently playing the role of Bridget Donovan in Showtime’s television series “Ray Donovan,” sat down for an interview at the Blackbox Theater for the department’s monthly Q-and-A session.

“It was so refreshing to hear from someone who has grown up in the business [who] is really down to earth,” junior theater major Claire Schuttler said. “She has a great head on her shoulders, and even though she has grown up working with very successful actors, she is so humble about what she has accomplished.”

The event featuring professional actors was previously known as “Third Wednesdays” but recently changed to “Pro2Col,” short for “Professionals to College students.” This was the first time that Pro2Col showcased a teenage actress.

Dorsey began acting professionally at 5, receiving her first substantial role as Kathy Cash in “Walk the Line.” Since then, she has guest starred in various television series such as AMC’s “Mad Men,” FX Network’s “Sons of Anarchy” and Disney Channel’s “Shake it Up.”

Dorsey has worked with acclaimed actors such as Brad Pitt in “Moneyball,” and Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner in the upcoming film “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Her longest-standing role is five years as Paige Whedon in ABC’s drama series “Brothers & Sisters.”

Next month she will begin filming her second season of “Ray Donovan” as Bridget Donovan, daughter to the title character, who’s played by actor Liev Schreiber. Dorsey explained that acting in a television series as opposed to a feature-length film allows her to spend more time growing and developing her character.

Theater Department Marketing Director Matthew Gilmore conducted the interview with Dorsey, then opened the floor to the audience for questions. Although the event was open all students, most of the audience consisted of around 40 theater majors.

Dorsey not only discussed her career, but also everything from approaching auditions to being on set.

“Being as close as we are to Hollywood, it’s awesome we can have these great artists come and share with the students,” Gilmore said. “I’m thankful that our students can gain insight from working professionals in the industry now.”

Dorsey said to help combat her nerves while on set, she reminds herself that all successful actors – even the Brad Pitts of the world – had to begin somewhere.

Acting is her craft, something to be studied and mastered, Dorsey told the students. She did note, however, that acting is also something to be enjoyed, advising the students to take a break if they ever reach a point of complacency.

“She did a great job of making the profession sound more like a human experience,” senior theater major Taylor Wesselman said. “A lot of her training came while the cameras weren’t rolling because interacting with these people and hearing their stories was an unexpected master class. I thought that the interview with Kerris was very enlightening.”

The students’ questions varied in nature, although many were about her experiences on set. When one student asked her to recount a favorite memory on the set of “Ray Donovan,” Dorsey shared a reminiscence of Jon Voight sitting down to tell her the story of auditioning for and filming “Midnight Cowboy.” Voight recently won the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor as Mickey Donovan in the show.

For more information about upcoming APU Theater events, check out www.facebook.com/AzusaPacificTheater.

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