Not just play time: senior actress sets sights on Hollywood
January 10, 2011 —
Making a firm decision to become an actress may be just as difficult as acting itself.
When Ashley Kay Evans was in eighth grade, she wanted to be an actress, but the theater senior didn’t start taking steps to realizing her dream for six more years.
“I wasn’t able to start perusing my dream until I got to SVSU,” said Evans.
She said that she didn’t start getting involved in the theater department until her second year.
“Once I became dedicated to my craft, there was no second guessing as to what I wanted do with my life,” she said.
Now in her fifth year, Evans spent a significant amount of time on the SVSU stage. What she calls her “break out role,” was Tituba She in “The Crucible,” directed by Ric Roberts. One may have seen her just last semester in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by David Rzeszutek, where she played the role of Eunice.
Besides acting, Evans tried her hand at directing this year’s Black at SVSU program as her capstone senior project.
But Evans hasn’t been alone on her journey to accomplish her dream, she said. The first play she was in at SVSU was “The Water Engine,” directed by Dr. Steven Erickson. Evans credits Erickson with showing her how to get involved, teaching her the “history” of theater and how a “great actor” needs to approach their trade from auditions to the final night of the show. She says Rzeszutek has helped her “stretch” her skills as an actress, and has given her a significant amount of insight on “the real world of professional acting.”
“The biggest lesson that I’ve learned from all three of my professors is that you are constantly auditioning even outside of an actual audition,” said Evans. “So, it’s good to watch out for the things that you say and the way you treat people because you don’t know who could be watching you.”
After Evans graduates in August, she wants to continue acting in either television or film. Currently, she is researching for the top agents in Michigan and California. Hopefully she will find some of the success her role models, African American actors Denzel Washington and Taraji P. Henson, have found. Evans calls Washington a hard worker and admires how Henson has overcome obstacles to find success. Although the greater majority of theater roles are written for white actors, Evans considers her own African American ethnicity a blessing.
“Some people have asked me, ‘well how do you do it, because it [seems] as if there aren’t that many roles for African American actresses out there?’ I tell them that I let my talent represent who I am, and not my skin color, because the opportunity is given to anyone of any ethnicity. It just comes down to what you can bring to the table.”
Evans may aspire to be a television and film actress, but she still has goals for a theater career.
“Later on down the line, I do want to go to grad school to receive a MFA in acting, and possibly teach acting to high school or college students along with building a community theater in the Detroit area,” she said.
Although Evans’s SVSU career is coming to an end, you can still catch her this winter semester as Myrna Thorn in the musical farce “Ruthless,” directed by Roberts. Evans also plans on auditioning for “Hedda Gabler,” directed by Erickson. “Ruthless” opens Thursday, Feb. 24 and “Hedda Gabler” opens Thursday, April 7.
Evans also plans to audition for the spring and summer shows before she steps across the graduation stage in August.