Being a big fan of musicals, my friends April and Sam were shocked that I have never seen the classic production of Fiddler on the Roof as we were having a quick dinner at White Spot before the start of the stage. I guess because the Fiddler reminded me of another Sound of Music kind-of production, with the sappy togetherness of family and sentimental moments, I never was interested in picking up a copy to watch it. I’m more into musicals with big stage numbers with lots of dancers and fast numbers. Fiddler on the Roof, in quick summary, is a play about a poverished father with his five daughters in Russia during the early years of the 20th century and the trials and tribulations they go through within their Jewish family, love, and tradition.
April and Sam were so excited that I was going to see them on stage in babushkas and costume as they do scene and prop changes. I bursted out laughing as they reminded me not to blink throughout the duration of the play- so I don’t miss their silhouetted appearance on stage as they move the house walls.
As the lights dimmed and the fiddle made its debut, on the roof, and the whole cast started to come onto stage, I groaned as they sang “Tradition”. I was offended that the song had put family members in particular roles- like the father was the ‘boss’ of the family, and the mother to take care of the home, the sons to go out and learn, and especially the fact that the daughters must stay home and learn kitchen work and traditions from mother. Although this play is set in the past, and today some families do observe this particular tradition, I’m just glad that I was brought up in this era, where people are to learn to be open to other ideas and traditions.
I have to admit the wedding scene between the poor tailor and Papa’s eldest daughter was a sweet scene. It was funny how my mind quickly started to frame up shots of the wedding on stage, as if I was going to shoot it. I’ve done a Catholic wedding and a Chinese tea ceremony prior to wedding- now I’ve got to shoot a Jewish wedding. I almost cheered out loud with the rest of the cast when the groom broke stomped on a glass (usually done at the end of a wedding ceremony), but quickly realized that the rest of the audience was not as in a festive mood I was.
Fiddler on the roof was done greatly by the Footlight Production cast at Deer Lake’s Shadbolt Theatre in Burnaby. They will continue to have shows until November 26th, so don’t miss it by ordering tickets by phone.