Sophomore Nathan Persampieri’s skills span from theater to photography to web design. Recently, he played the rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof, but he also uses his dexterity in Photoshop to create unique photos. His love for art manifests in his inspiring motto, “When my disability fails, art speaks.”
Q: How are you involved in the art community at North?
A: I take a photography class, Photo Minor. For theater, I just completed a production of Fiddler on the Roof. I was the rabbi, and that was my musical debut—it was my first musical. I have done theater other places, but this was my first musical at North.
Q: Can you elaborate on the theater you’ve done other places?
A: I have been in Watertown Children’s Theatre, and I haven’t done a show there, but I have taken classes at Wheelock Family Theater. I just like theater in general.
Q: What is it that you like about theater?
A: I like visually telling a story. You can tell a story with both theater and art. Theater, where you get to have your artistic freedom to be able to create a character and develop them and really tell a story. Art really speaks to me because I have a disability and art really speaks to me. So, I like making art because I don’t really have social interactions. The one way I can express myself is through theater and art.
Q: What did you like about your role as rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof?
A: Fiddler on the Roof is my favorite musical of all time. I liked it because my character and my personality match because I tend to fall down a lot, and that fit the character because he was a very old rabbi and with the assistance of the cane, I was able to convey the character.
Q: Do you have other favorite plays or musicals?
A: I like The Music Man, The Sound of Music, Pippin, and Finding Neverland.
Q: What was your role in Freshman Cabaret, and what did you like about it?
A: I was an assistant stage manager and I designed the website for it. I haven’t exactly done a lot of web design so this was my first experience doing it. I have a of technical background because I learned from YouTube and lynda.com or I can take a class, and that was really great. We got feedback saying the website was really handy to have, and it was a good contribution because the information was in one place so parents could look on the website and see that their child has rehearsal this day.
Q: Do you do other art besides photography and theater?
A: I like to post. I like—and this goes along with photography—I like to edit my photos so there’s a drastic difference from one photo to another. I do that before I post them to Instagram and Facebook, so that’s the main art I do. I also like graphic design. I am improving my skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I’m either doing page layout or completely transforming and retouching a photo in Photoshop to look like it’s completely transformed, like, double exposure. I draw my inspiration from Pinterest or tutorials online, or YouTube and stuff like that. Also one thing is that I am interested in videography and making short films. I always look forward to making short films for family vacations I take. The whole art department is really a place where I can just express myself freely.
Q: What are challenges you’ve faced in theater and your other art?
A: The biggest challenge for theater is that I can’t dance because I have a walker. I mean, I can do some dancing but if I brought my canes I could dance much better. Dancing is really a struggle for me. Hopefully with all my therapy and stuff I can get better at moving my body.
Q: What has been rewarding about your art?
A: I get to really be myself. My motto is, when my disability fails, art speaks, and I think that’s an important message for me, and an important lesson for other kids to learn about me so they won’t judge me based on my outside personality, but they really see my love for photography and graphic design and theater.
Q: You mentioned doing Playwrights’ Festival—have you done that before?
A: I tried to audition last year but I didn’t get in. I also tried to write for Playwrights’ this year and last year but my play didn’t get chosen. I’m going to audition this year and hopefully I’ll get in. If I don’t, I’ll keep expanding my skills in Photoshop and Illustrator and doing graphic design and photography more.
Q: Who do you look up to in the art and theater world?
A: I guess this is not technically theater but more engineering and science, but I like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. I like Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder is more music and I like his music. Although he is blind I really connect to him. Also, since I like Motown music I look up to Berry Gordy because I think he has some challenges. I look up to Oprah Winfrey because I learned she has a learning disability.
Q: What are your best memories from a production?
A: Playing the rabbi recently in Fiddler. When I was a freshman, I played a very exaggerative son and that was really fun because, and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I felt like my mom, sort of. I have not been in many other shows besides FroshCab and Fiddler.
Q: What are your best memories from your other arts?
A: I like the photos I take. I think they are really cool, and I like to post them because I want other friends to see that I am talented in other ways, just maybe not on the outside as much, but I do enjoy the photography that I do and the design that I do.
Q: Anything else to add?
A: Don’t judge me based on my outside qualities. Ask me questions. I am always open to people getting to know me.