Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Fiddler on the Roof" at Highlands High School

Picture of tickets for Highlands School District production of Fiddler on the RoofLast night I saw the production of "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Highlands High School. It was well done, and there will be performances tonight and Sunday afternoon (if this blog is the first place you are hearing about it, and want to go.)

All of the lead players were good. Don Hughes brought Tevye to life, and Emily Kolek played his wife Golde. Jessica Mriso gave a great performance as Tzeitel, Tevye's oldest daughter. Abby Slater played Yente the matchmaker beautifully. Damian Lynch did a great job as Lazar Wolfe the butcher. Bryan Rosenberg was memorable as Motel, the tailor who marries Tzeitel. Meggi Stimmler played Hodel, who fell in love with Perchik played by Justin Pitkavish. Cassi Kosmal played Chava, who fell in love with Fyedka played by Josh Barch.

An accident in the Friday night performance has had me thinking a lot about what was being portrayed in the musical. The wedding between Tzeitel and Motel at the end of the first act is supposed to be interrupted by a pogrom, mob violence against the Jewish community with the official blessing of the Tsar. In this production the pogrom was executed by a single hoodlum being protected by the constable. The young actor who had the responsibility of representing a whole mob used shocking force when he began trashing the wedding, overturning the table and throwing the gifts across the stage with loud crashes and bangs. One of the props ended up in the orchestra where it hit a trombonist on the back of his head. I was sitting pretty close to the orchestra and was very aware that fast moving objects were invading my space.

Audiences expect to be safe in the theater; the orchestra certainly has a right to be safe. The accident in that performance of a symbolic pogrom forced me to recognize how sheltered I am from the kind of violence that would end the former existence of the village of Anatevka - in spite of Tevye's doomed insistence that tradition would maintain the delicate balance of things as they are and ought to be.

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