Feature of the Week
August 22, 2019
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Rohnert Park’s Balldude, Leff Brown 40 years in real estate and still going strong Scott Goree, Executive Director of the Accordion Festival RP City Managers then and now Kitty Collins, an animal whisperer with passion Astronaut has high hopes Cotati Chamber of Commerce celebrates 60 years SSU ranked as U.S. News ‘Top Public School’ Royal King, Freedom Rider In Memoriam Jud Snyder (1925-2018), Cantankerous Newsman RP Public Safety Dept. and Cotati Police Dept. promotions RP honors Sister City’s Ambassadors from Japan This is the zodiac speaking High school counselor retires again Field retires from Special Education I just make bowls! Factory and trades training facility at SOMO Village Harmony’s Joel, Cotati storyteller Brian Harvey’s love for cars Rohnert Park students get schooled in kindness Every day 22 veterans commit suicide RCHS alumnus moves on to the bigtime A Cub reporter’s first scrapbook Recognition of Oliver Fraenkle’s excellence in teaching A special class for children with autism The Cotati Fairy Tale dance brought out the best Grant helps City of RP prioritize creek clean up New gym dedicated and named after Henry J. Sarlatte A Reflection on Women’s History Month 35 years an educator Kindness and generosity comes from many corners of the world Cotati’s Veronda/Falletti Ranch Gegan, an educator of 32 years retires Peace Park at Rohnert Park’s Burton Center Local author tells her story Keeping the faith for 45 years From a garage to an authentic art studio A night of pride for the Devil Pups “One Cold Night” raises money for SAY Pet peeves that irritate me (an article of opinion) Cotati Police Officer takes on new role Mastering the art of dance Nonn’s poetry inspired by RP Creeks Students help with rebuilding efforts Cotati’s tree lighting Marionettes at the local library Local Girl Scout Troops receive grant A walk on spot for Barbato RP grant to help host 2019 One Planet Summit 140 years of Japanese American History in new exhibit in Cotati Orion greets the public A new face at the school district office "Streetcar named Desire” stops at 6th St. Playhouse Flying Frog to sponsor upcoming Parkour Competition SSU to help with Mi Futuro Youth Healthcare Credo High’s reprisal: “The Aretha Tribute” Stories matter: Judson Snyder Physics in action at Technology High School Tech High Titans undefeated champions How to do origami Annual Holiday gift and toy drive kicks off The Zschach’s and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang SSU launches ‘financial literacy’ project with Redwood Credit Union Spreckels’ ‘Nutcracker’ ---Precision, color and elegance A day of wood and amazement Ensure holiday packages don’t get stolen DA’s office and Social Advocates for Youth selected to receive grant City of Rohnert Park celebrates Veterans Nov. 11 Change of seasons can be stressful Experience Credo High School Faith Ako: Creating “A Wonderful World” Tech High’s warm clothing drive huge success Get musical instruments back into homes Donaghey has new career after retirement

Nafe Nafe, a seasoned performer

  • Nafe Nafe

By: Lanny Lowery
May 31, 2019

I cannot say I knew Nafe Nafe when, since he has always been a well-known performer.  This young celebrity (I called him Row 6, Seat 5 when he joined my Honors British Literature class as a sophomore), a force in theater arts since he was in kindergarten, a very recent Rancho Cotate Class of 2019 graduate, has always kept his feet on the ground and his eyes on the stars.  He has put in the work for many years and plans to continue the effort to achieve his dreams.

Interviewing Nafe only means opening the floodgates to let him channel his thoughts about his passion, the stage, acting, singing, dancing and directing.  

Lanny:  Tell about your various stage experiences.

Nafe:  Over the course of my career as a performer I have taken part in over 50 different productions, so to list them all would be the same as reciting the alphabet backwards, in a different language.  However, some of the shows that left the greatest impact on my life are “Mary Poppins” performed at Spreckels where I played Valentine, the doll of the children’s nightmares, “Gypsy” at Sonoma Arts Live where I played the young LA, and “Disney’s Tarzan” where I got to jump and dance as a charismatic gorilla.  Other shows include Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” Disney’s “Peter Pan,” “Kismet” and “South Pacific” and many more.

Lanny:  How did you get started developing your passion for theater?

Nafe:  Ever since I was five years old, I have been in love with the stage and performance.  My very first show was “Charlotte’s Web” at Evergreen Elementary School where I played the gluttonous Uncle Pig.  Dancing is something that has always come very naturally to me.  I have never truly studied the art, rather just practiced until I got it right.  However, I did take a tap class for a year, my most formal study of dance.  I am always moving on my feet and dancing in some type of way, so I never really saw it crucial to pay hundreds of dollars a month to join a studio.  Singing is something that is fairly new to me.  I began singing in 2014 and have actually taken formal lessons to hone my skills.  Informally, I am always practicing at home by doing simple warm ups and singing a number of songs that really utilize my range.

Lanny:  Who have been some of your major influences?

Nafe:  The first major influence that has really helped me develop my talent as a performer is Jill Zschach, the Lawrence Jones drama teacher.  Mrs. Zschach was the first drama teacher to get me on a stage to do some amazing things.  The second influence is the former Artistic Director at Spreckels Performing Arts Center, Gene Abraya, who challenged me to become a better performer.  Michella Snyder, the resident choreographer at Spreckels, never my dance teacher, choreographed most of the shows that I was in and I picked up many good habits and skills from her.  A fourth influence, Tina Lloyd Meals, helped me with my singing since I first began performing at Spreckels.  She has a perfect ear, so she can practically hear a pin drop during a Metallica concert.  It was both terrifying and comforting to be trained by her.  Finally, the most important influence is my mother who has allowed me to take all the opportunities to become a performer.

Lanny:  What is the best part about performing?  

Nafe:  When it comes to parts I most enjoy performing, it’s performing before a live audience.  The thrill of performing in front of hundreds of people at a time is a different kind of rush; it’s exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.  Looking out to the fourth wall and feeling the heat of the stage on my face is the same feeling a mountain climber gets when he climbs his mountain, get to the top and looks out to the horizon, pure freedom.  Preparation and execution of a performance is really exhausting.  Before a show opens, we rehearse almost every night for about four to five hours for two months.  When it comes to what’s most difficult in terms of execution, it’s definitely preparing to perform.  That means I am warmed up and have a good amount of energy.  When I perform twice a day, I must work to keep my energy up.

Lanny:  What are your plans for the future?

Nafe:  I plan to make it to Broadway and will do everything to get there.  I will go to school and get a degree, not in acting or anything to do with performance, but will pursue performance as my first option.  A person doesn’t need a degree to act, sing, or dance, but it is one of the hardest careers, so I have to have a backup plan.  My backup is law, another hard career to pursue but a pretty good contingency; performance will always be my first choice.  So, I will move to New York after college to chase a career in Broadway or film or television.

Lanny:  What has made you such a good teacher for young performers?

Nafe: I have been in their shoes and understand what they need to be successful.  I take it slow but am rigorous enough so that all questions are answered along the way.  My teaching method is to drill it until they get it and so far, it has worked every time.

Lanny:  Why is being a part of student government important to you?

Nafe:  Being a part of student government has been an extremely important part of my life because making a difference is something that is very important to me.  I love being behind the scenes in making people’s lives easier and better and the best way for me to start with that is through student government.

Lanny:  How has it been balancing academics, performing and teaching throughout high school?

Nafe:  Balancing academics, performing and teaching has been one of my strong suits during my high school career.  I don’t know exactly how I have done it, but it comes easily for me.  I have just a simple routine to follow as I am very meticulous with my scheduling and plan accordingly.

Lanny:  Have local people and schools been a factor in your success?

Nafe:  The support I have received from every direction has been amazing beginning with my mother and family who have helped me, joined me and celebrated with me in all my achievements.  My teachers and friends have done more in being patient with my schedules and conflicts.  The local schools have helped me discover whom I am and what I love to do.  They have been my starting point for all my success to come.  From performing to government participation, it all started in the schools in the Cotati-Rohnert Park District.  I will always remain grateful and appreciative of what they’ve helped me become:  my best possible self.

Look out world, here comes Nafe Nafe:  performer, attorney, active citizen and teacher.  And we can say we knew him when he was all of these things.