Cedarville’s “Fiddler on the Roof” resonated well with the majority of the crowd as opening night ended with a standing ovation.
The show begins outside of Tevye’s home in Anatevka, and the audience is introduced to the fiddler on the roof. Tevye sets up the play with this metaphor: “But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck.”
The citizens of Anatevka have a set way of life and seem content with what they have – healthy families and an uncompromising faith. The show focuses on the lives of Tevye, his wife Golde and their five daughters, as well as on the happenings in their quaint town of Anatevka.
Tevye is confronted with numerous moral dilemmas throughout the show. The most notable are the ones pertaining to the marriages of his eldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava.
Tevye’s character holds fast to tradition, which is the source for some of the moral dilemmas he faces.
“And how do we keep our balance?” he asks. “Tradition.”
But tradition does not always have relevant responses to new social developments, as we see Tevye come to terms with. Tevye’s inner monologue and external dialogue with his family establish a rise in action that leads to many climatic scenes.
One of the highlights of the show was the music. The show featured assorted music by Sheldon Harnick brought to life by the orchestra, which was led by Cedarville professor Carlos Elias. The music was characterized by its folksy appeal but set the viewer in a frame of mind appropriate for the time, 1905.
“Fiddler on the Roof” had a large number of well-choreographed dances. Even though there were many characters on stage, the cast was well-synchronized. A favorite of the night seemed to be the high-energy bottle dance following the wedding of Tevye’s oldest daughter, Tzeitel (played by Chandler Hull).
The show should not be dismissed because of its traditional storyline and staging. Tevye is continually adding comic relief with his “the good book says” remarks, and a dream sequence has a very non-traditional, abstract approach.
Some of the night’s favorite characters were Golde (played by Anna Caroline Porter), Tevye’s admirable wife, and Yente (played by Raven Simmons), the village’s matchmaker. Porter did an exquisite job depicting Golde’s loyal, yet dominant, role in her relationship with Tevye. Golde’s strong personality is the basis for the firm stance her daughters also take on the ideas they believe to be true.
Simmons played Hannah the housemaid in last semester’s “Little Women,” and she brought a similar comic appeal as the matchmaker. Tevye was also cast well, as Robert Rhodes really embraced the genuineness of a simple milkman trying to live a life that reflects his faith and love for his family.
Although a central piece of the show – the door to the family’s house – malfunctioned, the cast was resilient and took control of the moment, hardly breaking the flow of the show.
“Fiddler on the Roof” is a long play – lasting nearly three hours with intermission – and is not for the casual onlooker. Granted, many viewers were astonished at their ability to sit for so long. But, once you are settled in, the actors are there with you, drawing you in to experience the ups and downs of Anatevka.
SCAB did an excellent job of taking the rustic vibe offstage and putting it into the opening night festivities. Attendees could enjoy soft pretzels, as well as root beer served in vintage mason jars. And, of course, there was a classic backdrop perfect for selfies and family portraits.
Whether you like Russian accents, amazing choreography or just having a good laugh, “Fiddler on the Roof” is a show you should see.
Ellie Dukes is a freshman nursing major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. She likes to express her artistic abilities through cosmetology and writing. You can spot her anywhere there is a desire for God or there is a Chipotle.