Continuing our tie-in with The Beachcomber’s 15th anniversary in August. This issue, the spotlight shines on Nathanael Fisher from Emerald Coast Theatre Company.
1. Where do you currently call home?
Santa Rosa Beach—about a block from the bay, where you can hear the dolphins fishing for dinner every now and then.
2. When did you get started in theater?
My first part I ever had was Farmer McGregor in a children’s production of Peter Rabbit. I planted my garden and sang, If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops… While I was singing, the poster board clouds above me started dropping their glued-on lemon drops and gumdrops. It might have been a sign from God or a crazy coincidence, but I guess somewhere in my three-year-old heart I took it as a sign.
3. What’s new with Emerald Coast Theatre Company?
We’ve been growing so fast since October of 2012 that we are focusing on sustainability in our educational and professional programs.
4. What prompted you to start a new theater group in Beachcomberland? Did you feel there was something lacking here?
My wife, Anna (Ogle) Fisher, was born in Destin. This is home. We saw a need for elementary and middle school theater education, and as the company grew, we felt like ECTC could contribute to the already thriving theater community by offering another kind of theater experience for adults.
5. You recently hosted a singing competition. What other non-theater events do you have planned?
If you’ve been to our Lip Sync Battle fundraiser, there is no doubt that it is theatrical though not theater. Other performance-based non-theater events we have done are our Storytime Theatre performances at ArtsQuest and the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s Bluegrass at the Beach. We also will be doing street theater for the Pirate of the High Seas Festival in Panama City Beach, and look for some carolers this holiday season. Last year you might have seen them at Pier Park, Grand Boulevard, the Village of Baytowne Wharf and HarborWalk Village.
6. What’s the biggest misconception about live theater?
Probably that it is just entertainment. There is something magical about the artist and audience breathing the same air, experiencing the same thing within the same moment. Honest, heartfelt acting is cathartic, as Aristotle said. When we see a person living truthfully on stage, we see the world through that character’s eyes. Suddenly we are no longer one person individually, we are people in a community that thrives on relationships.
7. How are you planning to spend Fourth of July?
I will be in Sapphire Valley, North Carolina, halfway up a mountain probably lying on the floor getting tackled by my twin nine-year-old girls Mia and Bella and Zoe, who is three. Zoe will lay on the “love pats” the hardest—that three-year-old doesn’t know her own strength. After that, we’ll have ice cream—Mia chocolate mint, Bella raspberry cheesecake, and Zoe…anything purple if we can find it. Anna will be there reading her book in peace on the porch warning us to “stop or someone will get hurt” and reminding us that we will be required to eat healthy at dinner.
8. You’re putting on “family comedy improv” shows this summer at HarborWalk Village. How’s that going?
That show is fun and funny! It’s so great to see how the audience enjoys giving the performers suggestions and then laughing at the creative way those suggestions are used in the audience. It really is great for young and old. Jennifer posted this review on our Facebook page: Absolutely hilarious! So much fun! Extremely glad we were able to see the show this evening! I would watch it weekly if able! Laughter is the best medicine and these guys definitely provided that!
9. What was the last stage production you attended—local or otherwise—that you really loved?
This past January, I had the privilege to adjudicate directing for District One Thespians. It was a scene from The Elephant Man. The director had motivated blocking and movement on stage. The student actors were emotionally connected to each other, honestly listening and responding to each other in the heartfelt scene. It was a beautiful moment on stage.
10. Who are some of the people that inspired you?
Gil Elvgren is one of my mentors. He always said that if you want to do theater, you must master more than one craft of theater. Sam Shepard is my favorite playwright. His work is inspiring because I feel he has an amazing understanding of human nature. My late Aunt Vanessa is always an inspiration to me. She didn’t care who you were, where you came from, or what you’ve done—you were loved by Vanessa.
11. What are some of your favorite Beachcomberland places to eat, drink, shop?
Anna and I love to go to Vin-tij (in Miramar Beach) when we want to treat ourselves—always delicious. Our favorite lunch place is Dewey Destin’s on the harbor—they just do fresh fish right. If we can share the love of our children with a babysitter or family, we enjoy sneaking up to Tommy Bahama’s happy hour—did you know they spank the basil for the grapefruit-basil martini? Shopping—Grand Boulevard for us, but we usually find ourselves at various thrift shops looking for props and costumes.
12. Do you still have a dedicated performance location?
We do not have a dedicated performance location. Grand Boulevard and the Market Shops have generously allowed us to use their empty space. If someone is interested in helping us find a home, we would love the input.
13. ECTC is pretty active on social media. Do you have someone handling that for you?
I handle most of the social media, but I have a wonderful board and some great instructors that also contribute here and there.
14. What’s in store for ECTC in 2017?
In October, we will be five years old. The community has received ECTC with open arms, and the growth since the beginning has been exponential. I hope 2017 will bring a home for ECTC so we can serve our community even better with higher production values and services that continue to meet the needs of home.
15. The Beachcomber’s 15th anniversary is coming up in August. How are you planning to celebrate this momentous occasion?
I will celebrate by taking 15 Beachcombers and handing them to 15 different people and asking them to read it and pass it on.