September 24, 2020

Alumna Anna Bortnick takes the big stage

Bortnick recently acted in the Amazon TV series Transparent. (Courtesy Photo)

The high school’s acting department has led many performers to take their love of acting to the next level. Alumna Anna Bortnick ’14’s acting career has escalated more quickly than others.

Bortnick began her acting career when she was eight years old at the Children’s Theater Troupe in Cambridge. She remembers dropping her cane during a performance during her time spent at the trope. “I sort of [made] a ‘schtick’ out of it,” she said. “After that, I was hooked”

During her time at the high school, Bortnick took part in numerous productions. She played roles ranging from a belly-button to a Russian dog-girl.

“[The high school] gave me valuable time-management skills,” said Bortnick. “Under the example of Stephen Wrobleski, the school’s drama director, I learned the importance of discipline, determination and hard work in the theater.”

Bortnick says that her determination and hard work in high school paid off and led her to win multiple awards including second place at the National English Speaking Union’s Shakespeare competition.

“This was one of my proudest accomplishments in high school,” said Bortnick. “Most of the other students who were in the top ten came from private arts schools and I was incredibly honored to represent Wellesley High School and the strength of the theater department.”

In the fall of 2015, after finishing her senior year, Bortnick began college at Tufts University. She says that she found herself craving a more artistic environment, and in the spring of her freshman year, she left Tufts to spend a semester at the National Theater Institute.  At the Institute, she worked with 30 other young actors immersed in the craft, studying Brecht, Russian movement, directing, and traveling to London. Bortnick says she used this time to discover herself and choose the career path she found the most interesting for her.

“[The National Theater Institute was a] truly a life-changing experience,” said Bortnick. “[It] made me want to pursue a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Boston University, which is where I am right now, taking actor training courses.”

Recently, she was invited by a director in New York to audition for an off-broadway show. “Although I did not land the role sometimes those clichés are true,” said Bortnick. “It really was an honor just to be nominated.”

Bortnick’s recently was featured in a small role in the Amazon TV series Transparent.

“What was really cool about this experience was that I was able to spend two day on the set of Transparent talking with actors,” said Bortnick. “I was able to learn a lot about how a film-set is run and the differences between stage and film acting.”

Bortnick was also hired as an actor for Wheelock’s Emerging Playwrights Program.

“[The program] is a theater that provides a wonderful opportunity for young playwrights to workshop scripts in staged readings with professional actors and directors,” said Bortnick.

As for the future, Bortnick hopes to be able to make a career out of her passion for acting.

“My favorite part about stage acting is the connection that forms between a performer and the audience,” said Bortnick. “This bond kind of magical, as it exists for just a brief time and can never be duplicated.

(Celia Golod ’17, Features Editor)

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