From the January 21-24, the DSHS Drama department came together to present the community with a simply awesome production called Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Rachel Koske.
Senior Joey Kelley and sophomore Grayson Ruiz played the lead roles, Tevye and Golde. The daughters of Tevye (Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Shprinzte, and Bielke) were played by Anna Smith, Kate Reeves, Kamrie Holmes, Kenzie Olsen, Ellie Kukyendall, and Abrianne Jones respectively. Each, in their quirky and unique ways, portrayed their characters beautifully.
The musical is based off of the Sholem Aleichem stories, and originally opened in 1964 on Broadway. Fiddler on the Roof is about a small Jewish village in the Russian Pale of Settlement—a western region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed but beyond it was prohibited. The conflict involves changes in family and community values, which interferes with the normal flow of everyday life.
When the story was first introduced, the whole village seemed Amish-like. They did not seem to care about liberal arts and education, amongst other things. The characters were not remotely involved with the government, they were extremely cultural, and most had industry or agricultural based careers.
The story focuses heavily on tradition, and even though Tevye is poor, he is okay with it, as he always has been and it is comfortable. A big part of the culture that led to the initial conflict was marriages arranged via matchmakers. However, each of Tevye’s daughters that married did it untraditionally, defying the traditional norms. Tevye struggled with it at first, but he learned that his traditions were of the past, and that it’s a changing world.
The music and dancing was absolutely phenomenal. I can’t even imagine how much time and effort it took for the actors to learn not only their lines, but on top of that, memorize signing parts, and on top of that, practice the synchronized choreography. The talented orchestra did such a good job with helping the singing and music coincide elegantly. In general, not only was the music, singing, and dancing well practiced and implemented, but they did so in a very cultural fashion. I really felt the festiveness as an audience member.
The lighting and stage effects were professionally done. The lighting effects were unique for every scene, with cool effects like silhouettes and spotlight emphasis. The stage was also professionally done. The set emphasized the room rather than the setting so you could see the context of the situation.
Everyone played his or her parts well. The actors portrayed their characters exactly how they were supposed to be, not only with acting out the distinct personalities, but the costumes, which depicted clearly who was poor, middle class, rich, and part of the government.
Overall, Fiddler on the Roof kept me laughing and had a great message of accepting change and moving forward, even if it means sacrificing just a little bit of your culture.