BWW Previews: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Ciampa Performing Arts Center
Almost every family and community has some sort of tradition that continues throughout the years, despite any changes the group goes through. This idea is reflected in the show Fiddler on the Roof, as many of the plot points in the show are based on traditions that the people of Anatevka don't remember the origins of. Inspired by the show, I decided to ask the cast and crew of Tyngsborough High School's production of Fiddler on the Roof what their favorite tradition has been throughout their Tyngsborough theatre career. Being in a small town, the theatre program here is truly like a family, as many of the seniors have been a part of the program for the past seven years, so traditions have accumulated throughout the years.
Hanna, a junior, enjoys the after show festivities after the final performance of every show. Typically after strike, the entire cast goes out to Chili's and enjoys being a cast one last time together. The restaurant blocks off a section just for the cast and allows us to be as loud as we want. Last year, people were performing numbers from past shows in the aisle between tables, including choreography, amusing not only the cast and crew, but the employees working.
Our Hodel, a sophomore named Abby, gives every cast member a high five after the final show while holding the door open as the cast makes their way out of backstage to the cafeteria to meet up with family and friends. While holding the door is something she does on a daily basis, the high fives are a special addition. Specifically, she likes adding in a "good game" like what happens after sports games, which is funnier since she isn't exactly a sports kid.
Alanna, a sophomore, has a tradition is going to Denny's before or after a show with a small group of their friends. The tradition started during our production of Guys and Dolls, and they look forward to continuing it for the third year during Fiddler on the Roof.
Valentina, a freshmen, loves hugging as many people as possible before the show begins. "We always make each other feel great," she said, "we tell each other to do our best and it's just so nice and uplifting". For her, it's the perfect way to start a show.
A junior named Elizabeth's favorite tradition is one of our vocal warm ups used for diction. The exercise is focused on diction as everyone starts counting, but instead of just regularly counting up a scale, you start with just counting "one", then proceeding to "one, two, one" instantly after, and so forth up to eight, as you count up to the next number, down, then moving onto the next number. Once you reach eight, you go back down, starting with "eight" then "eight, seven, eight" and so forth. While this can be challenging enough due to the speed, diction, and overall confusion, the warm up is taken to another level as we split up into our four vocal groups and create a round out of the exercise. As Elizabeth states, "everyone huddles up to make sure they're all singing together and people [are] getting confused and always having more groups singing at the end than the beginning". Not only can this warm up be entertaining, but when you complete it correctly, there's a sense of accomplishment that can put a smile on your face.
For myself, a sophomore, my favorite tradition started during our production of Chicago three years ago, when I was in eighth grade. During the pre-show speech with the entire cast, one of the juniors was asked to pump everyone up. Taking a tradition from homecoming pep rallies, he changed the popular sports chant "I believe that we will win" to "I believe that we'll do good in this show". The chant works by having one person leading with the rest of the group surrounding them in a circle. The leader yells "I" and waits for the group to echo, then they yell "I believe", followed by "I believe that we'll" before the entire group joins the leader in the full "I believe that we'll do good in this show" a million times over. While screaming this at the top of our lungs, everyone has their arms around each other and are jumping up and down, and it reminds me of the fact that we're all a crazy family, united together to put on a good show for the audience waiting. No matter what happened earlier that day, week, or at a different show, in that moment, you're caught in a circle of pure happiness before stepping onstage do something you absolutely love: perform.
Fiddler on the Roof is playing at the Ciampa Performing Arts Center at Tyngsborough High School in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts May 12th, 13th, 20th, and 21st. Tickets can be bought at the door, or you may purchase them here.