|Actor Matthew Giampietro Makes Entrance on Graduate Stage|
For his last appearance in a play at the University of St. Thomas, Matthew Giampietro sported tight leather pants and a definite attitude.
It’s all part of life as a drama student, he says, and of his role as Jack Worthing/Ernest in a rock and roll version of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Whether it’s painting and building a set in his spare time or playing a starring role, a life in the theater is something Giampietro plans to pursue as a career.
Giampietro will join the 316 undergraduates and 427 graduate students in the University of St. Thomas Class of 2009 at the University’s Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16 at Reliant Arena. Giampietro will continue to hone his skills as an actor in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Washington’s School of Drama.
Giampietro discovered his passion after taking a drama class with Sam Havens, UST professor of drama. Prior to that, he had planned to major in engineering. Quite a switch, he admits, but not an unusual one for his family. His grandfather was an artist and taught at Catholic University of America, and brother Francis Giampietro, who graduated in UST’s class of 2007, was a studio arts major and is in a Master of Fine Arts program in sculpture at the University of Houston.
“My parents are very supportive of the arts and very supportive of us,” Giampietro said. “They have seen quite a few of my shows.”
Though the Giampietros live in Meriden, Conn., UST has become something of a family affair. Younger sister Genevieve Giampietro plans to attend UST in the fall and their uncle, Father Anthony Giampietro, CSB, is an assistant professor in the philosophy department.
“My older brother came down to go the university because of my uncle. I came down and really liked it,” Giampietro recalls. “I was looking at different schools, but UST seemed like a very friendly place.”
As a drama student, he has been involved in at least 10 plays at UST and appreciates the opportunity to perform on stage, something not always possible at a larger university.
“That’s the thing about being an actor, you want to practice your craft,” he said.
He gets to do that in The Importance of Being Earnest, when he plays two roles. He starts out as Jack Worthing, a country boy who tells everyone he has a brother in London named Ernest. When he goes to the city he becomes Ernest.
Giampietro recently appeared as the eccentric Lord Fancourt Babberly in Charley’s Aunt, a comedy by Brandon Thomas.
Lord Babberly is a “ridiculous character, but I got to be really funny,” Giampietro said. “I like the opportunity to bring the characters of people to life and make them real. That’s what first drew me to acting, you get to be outside of yourself.”
Besides his skills as an actor, Gino Chelakis, assistant professor of drama, describes the young actor as a “true citizen of the theater.” The theater world, he explained, “is a community that requires of its members a great deal of time, effort, sincere commitment and a generosity of talent and spirit … He will be greatly missed.”
In his next endeavors at the University of Washington, Giampietro will build on the acting “chops” and theater foundations he learned at UST.
“I chose the University of Washington because they are one of the top drama programs in the nation,” he said. “They prepare their actors for theatre as well as film, voice-over, commercial work and new media. They are a school focused on training actors for the professional world of acting.”