"I love acting. It gives me the same feeling I used to get years ago when I was in my neighborhood dribbling a basketball."
Most Bucknellians who know Nyambi Nyambi ’01 probably remember him hitting the boards for the basketball team, but nowadays the former Bison shooting guard is treading the boards as an actor. Nyambi recently appeared in New York as Caliban in Classic Stage Company’s The Tempest with Mandy Patinkin.
Acting "wasn’t even on the radar" for Nyambi until his senior year, when he auditioned for a Cap and Dagger play. His basketball commitments prevented him from appearing in a full-fledged theatre production, but the audition piqued his desire.
"That was when it first dawned on me that acting was a possibility,” he says.
Later that year, he delivered a Martin Luther King speech at a campus event. "After the speech, one of my professors came up to me and said, ‘Nyambi, you’re an actor,’ and I knew he was right. From that moment on I pursued acting and nothing else."
After graduating with a management degree, Nyambi attended the Stella Adler Studio of Acting (while working for Richard Humphrey ’74 at Arts4All) and earned an M.F.A in acting from NYU.
He had a starring role in the Partial Comfort Production A Matter of Choice. Other theatre credits include the Classical Theatre of Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop and Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Nyambi co-starred in the critically acclaimed 2006 independent film Day Night Day Night and is at work on two more films. He also has recorded eight audio books, made several commercials and is currently researching and writing a play about Afro-beat musician and Nigerian political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
"I love acting. It gives me the same feeling I used to get years ago when I was in my neighborhood dribbling a basketball,” Nyambi says. “I am so excited. It feels like this is just the beginning of my career."
Posted Winter 2009
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