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Student Stories : Apr 30, 2019

Finding confidence on stage

#UFgrad Spotlight: Afsheen Misaghi (MFA Theatre '19)

By Alexa Lore (BSPR '19) | Photos by Suzanna Mars | Video by Coral Dixon (MA Museology '19)

Afsheen Misaghi decided to attend the University of Florida for graduate school after hearing about the UF School of Theatre + Dance faculty from his former instructor at the West Virginia University.

“I learned the long-standing legacy of the School of Theatre and Dance,” Misaghi said. “When they offered me a position to be a part of the class I was like ‘Yeah, of course. Let’s do it.’”

One of the classes he took that changed his outlook as an acting student was a singing class with Professor of Practice Malcolm Gets.

“I was over-thrilled and I felt super privileged, but the class I took with Gets was just a singing class,” Misaghi said. “I was terrified. I had never sang before in my life.”

By the end of the semester, Misaghi said Gets not only transformed his voice to the point where he carry a tune but also instilled the confidence Misaghi needed to perform a song.

“That confidence has also translated over to all my acting whether it’s a song or not,” he said. “I have the confidence to say ‘Okay, I can take this text. I can interpret it myself. I can work on it at home, and I can deliver it in a truthful, believable and entertaining way.”

After three years at UF, Misaghi is graduating with a Master of Fine Arts from the College of the Arts.

One of Misaghi’s favorite memories at UF was actually off stage.  Without hesitation, he said his favorite UF moment was being able to witness the Sweet 16 basketball game in March 2017 when the Wisconsin Badgers played Florida Gators.

“It was a huge moment of pride for me,” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m a Gator! Let’s go!’”

His latest role on stage was one of his toughest and most challenging yet. He played Caliban in the play Rough Magic as his MFA thesis role.

He said the character is everything you want in a Greek god, including the physique. In preparing for the role, Misaghi lost 28 pounds and 11 percent body fat to portray the godly warrior.

As a graduate student in the School of Theatre + Dance, Misaghi said he frequently gets to interact with undergraduate students.

“Outside of class, to have such a large and ridiculously talented pool of undergrad and grad students, really made me a better performer, student and actor,” he said.

In addition to being an actor, Misaghi is also an educator. One of the highlights of his time at UF was teaching an acting for non-majors course.

“To see students go from being hesitant and shy at the beginning of the semester to towards the end be like ‘Oh, I got this,’ is a great thing to see,” he said. “I could teach that class every day, hours a day, and I’d be happy.”


You can keep up with Afsheen on Instagram @affyjay