Desean Terry

Actor and LMU alumnus Desean Terry ('00) is Hero in "Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)" by Suzan Lori-Parks, playing at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

1. What made you want to pursue acting?

I started as a teenager. I thought it was fun. As a shy kid, it was also instrumental in breaking me out of my shell and discovering my voice.

2. What parts of the play are you performing in?

The plays are a part of a larger cycle of plays. This production will cover the first three plays and my character, Hero, is the focus of these plays. He is seen in all three.

3. How did Judith Royer inspire you and why did you decide to dedicate the play you're currently understudying in to her?

Judith inspired me as an instructor. She opened my eyes to the hard work and dedication that is required when choosing a career in the arts. I dedicated the performance to Judith because she has been a very strong guidance through the years. Our relationship has grown and changed throughout the years and in every incarnation she has been an inspiration. She really did help lay the foundation for my career and has been available to me from the very beginning. She also gave me my first ticket to the Mark Taper Forum so for me her energy is connected to the theatre space. She helped inspire the dream of performing on that stage.

4. Do you enjoy theatre or television acting better?

I love them both. However, I have to say my favorite medium is theatre. I love the rehearsal process. It gives you the opportunity and time, to really see where the character resonates within you. However, I love the spontaneity of television. That can be exciting as well.

5. What were your favorite appearances that you have made in television/theatre and why?

My favorite professional experience was doing "The Royale" by Marco Ramirez at the Kirk Douglas. I fell in love with that play immediately. It felt as if that play was truly kindred to me as an artist. My favorite television experience to date was working on E.R. simply because I played a character really outside of myself. I allowed myself to let go and I really surprised myself.

6. What advice do you have to students interested in pursuing a similar career?

All things are possible. The thing that you will hear most in this career is no. However, you simply have to seek your yes. Also, it is very common that people give you formulas as to what you need to do to make it in the entertainment industry. However, the more years I spend in the industry, the more I let go of formulas of what you "should do," and I instead focus on doing the things that I love to do. I think there is an energy that resonates with you when you decide to spend your hours pursuing the things that you love. People can feel it. And that energy is contagious.

7. What is your favorite TV show, movie and play?

As of recent some things that I have loved are the 1st season of the French version "The Returned," the second season of "The Leftovers" was amazing, the film "Dope" was incredible and “Twelfth Night" is my favorite play.

8. What is the play "Father Comes Home From The Wars" about?

Set during the Civil War, a slave named Hero, the character I portray, is offered his freedom if he joins his master, played by Michael McKean, in the ranks of the Confederacy. The choice is to leave the woman and people he loves for what may be an empty promise. His decision brings him face to face not only with a nation at war with itself, but with what freedom truly means.

9. How did you first get discovered in the entertainment industry?

After LMU, I did conservatory work at Juilliard. Graduating from Juilliard did open many doors for me. However, my first film job was through another LMU instructor that I love dearly, Sharon Madden. She called me because one of her friends was seeking an actor for a principal role in an independent film called "God's Army." It was the first professional role I booked.

10. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

My mom. I love her dearly, and we don't spend enough time together.

I’m a junior English major and am completing the journalism certificate. I just transferred from San Francisco State University but am originally from Malibu. I love writing, photography, chocolate, running, the beach, and dogs.

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