By Senaya Savir
As the semester nears its end and graduation for this year’s senior class approaches, one senior, Tiziano D’Affuso, looks back on his freshman year and the start of his active involvement in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
D’Affuso first got involved in CSPAC in 2012, when he auditioned for Terrapin Theatre Troupe’s Spring Cabaret, where he met several people who shared the same love and passion for theatre as he did.
After finding his place at CSPAC, D’Affuso continued his next few years dedicating a tremendous amount of his time to performing arts and participating in several plays along the way.
D’Affuso’s first main stage production at Maryland was “The Matchmaker,” by Thornton Wilder. A personal favorite production of his was “Twilight: Los Angeles,1992”, a one-woman originally written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith and directed by Caroline Clay. D’Affuso described it as an experience he will never forget and forever cherish because it introduced him to the element of storytelling in acting.
“The stage is a vulnerable place where actors and actresses strip themselves of any shields in order to tell someone’s story,” he said. “Honoring that story is what is most important in performance and it requires a lot of truth coming from the artist.”
D’Affuso said as a theatre major, five out of the six classes he takes this semester are performance classes. This semester has been particularly a hectic one, according to D’Affuso, who plans on pursuing acting as a career following graduation in May.
“I have been auditioning like crazy these past few weeks…a huge chunk of pursuing a career in the performing arts is practicing,’ D’Affuso said. “I try to practice what I learn in class everyday.”
D’Affuso always had an interest in the performing arts growing up, partly because his mother was an actress. He lived in Italy for part of his childhood where he was a part of a children’s choir that performed around the region and was exposed to musicals and opera.
He eventually took a hiatus from the performing arts world but picked it up again during his senior year of high school.
“I did not plan to major in theatre and to pursue it as a career, but you never know where life takes you,” he said.
Following graduation, D’Affuso will take part in a two-week intensive summer program that will culminate in a final showcase. He also received several callbacks for a few professional productions in the northern Virginia area.
D’Affuso describes his overall experience at Maryland as a blessing where he took advantage of the different courses and perspectives to better his work as an actor and performer.
“The biggest lesson I’ll take with me is that I can make what I want out of anything,” D’Affuso said. “As UMD. students, we have the power to tailor the education we receive to our needs, desires and dreams.”