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At six-years-old, Isabella Giordano attended her first Shakespeare Festival in Southern Utah., and she was immediately enamored with the brilliant and poetic world of theater. That year, she was able to see King Lear performed onstage from her seat in the balcony. She sat with her face pressed through the bars of the balcony wanting to get as close to the make-believe world of King Lear and all of his accomplices. Not only was she fascinated with the seemingly separate world, but she also realized that she could connect with the lives of the characters on stage. It was a pivotal moment in her life.
Even before Giordano realized that theater was her passion, she was surrounded by it. Growing up, her mother was a stage manager and prop master at the Pioneer Theater. As a child, Giordano was able to experience theater not only from an audience perspective, but from a technical stand point as well. This gave her a well-rounded appreciation of the arts from a very young age.
Giordano is Highland’s Sterling Scholar for Theater and Forensic Sciences. She will use the scholarship money she is awarded to attend SUU where she will study acting with a minor in Shakespeare Studies, and she hopes to be admitted into their BFA program. Additionally, she would like to study literature and film.
Many people have encouraged Giordano as she honed her talents including her family and various acting coaches. Her current acting teacher, Alexi Baugh, makes sure she has a voice in class and has allowed her to explore the responsibilities of a director. Her former theater coach, Michael Flynn, taught her how to get out of her head and just perform. Having a support system has helped Giordano commit fully to her dream of being a professional actor.
“Our theater program is so supportive, and we’re always there for each other,” Giordano said.
Giordano has known since the seventh grade when she auditioned for the school musical that this is what she wanted to do with her life.
“I remember being under the stage lights, and I knew that’s what I wanted. It’s exhilarating,” Giordano said.
Since then, she has thrived off the opportunity to communicate emotions and stories onstage and on camera. She has learned how to make the most out of each and every character.
Theater is about more than just the rush of performing for Giordano though. She feels that art can truly help those who experiencing it by helping them to relate to others and feel emotions that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to communicate.
“When you’re acting that it’s never the ‘you’ show,” Giordano said. “It’s about the people you’re on stage with and the audience. You open the door to letting them feel whatever they need to feel.”
She has learned how to step back and look at situations impartially in order to analyze and react to them appropriately. This has allowed her to become level-headed and independent, not relying on anyone else for her happiness. She is an incredibly mature and intelligent person.
Acting has affected Giordano outside of just cultivating her talents. It has taught her to relate the feelings of others on an incredibly intimate level. Because she has been asked as an actor to delve so deeply not only into her own experiences but into the experiences of the characters as well.
“Being in theater makes you very empathetic,” Giordano said. “That’s why kids in theater are so liberal.”
Theater has also brought Giordano out of her shell and helped her find her voice. According to her, she was painfully shy before she started seriously studying acting.
“It’s definitely given me confidence,” Giordano said.
Her ultimate goal is to perform at the Globe Theater in London, and her dream role is Lady Macbeth who she feels is an incredibly complex and striking character.
“She’s strong and she has so much power over people especially Macbeth, but ultimately she commits suicide, which shows you that she isn’t always strong, and ultimately her downfall was that she couldn’t deal with what was in her head,” Giordano said.
In college and afterwards, Giordano hopes to continue being a part of the theater world as both an actress and a director. Her training both in and outside of Highland have opened countless doors for her, and although theater is a hard profession to break into, Giordano is optimistic about whatever the future may bring.