Friday, April 14, 2000
Carlisle's Seventh Graders Shine in 'Fiddler On The Roof Jr.'
Tradition. Change. Family. Religion. Young romance. These were some of the themes running through Fiddler on the Roof Jr., performed by Carlisle's seventh graders this past weekend. Capacity crowds were fortunate to take in a highly entertaining production, featuring familiar numbers such as "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset," and "Matchmaker, Matchmaker."
The performance was a stirring adaptation of the classic storyline familiar to manyTevye the dairyman tries to scratch out an existence in the small Russian village of Anatevka, while a rapidly changing world creates problems for him at every turn.
John Kilfoyle was masterful portraying Tevye, while Allie Robbins was delightful in her role as Tevye's wife, Golde. Tevye and Golde have raised five daughters, the eldest of whom is approaching marrying age. Golde meets with the local matchmaker (played by Rachel Grean) to arrange a match for her eldest daughter Tzeitel (Jenny Zuk). The choice: the local butcher Lazar Wolf, portrayed by Patrick Offenheiser. Unbeknownst to either Tevye or Golde, their daughter has already committed herself to Motel, the local tailor (Mark Hassey). This creates a dilemma for Tevyeshould he insist his daughter honor the old custom of matchmaking, or would it be better to accept the alternative, which will undoubtedly make his beloved daughter more happy?
Soon more problems and changes beset Tevye. Perchik, a young student with progressive thoughts (played by Will Scarlett), befriends Hodel, Tevye's second daughter (Christine Shaver) and brings new concepts into her life. Another daughter Chava (Jacquie O'Kelly) elects to run away with a non-Jewish Russian soldier, leading Tevye to ban her from his life.
Through all these travails, Tevye carries on with his tedious life as a dairyman, with some help from an ongoing dialogue (monologue?) with God.
In the end, Tevye and his family are forced by an edict from the Czar to leave their village. Tevye despairs, but Golde, playing the supportive wife, brings him to realize that his existence in Anatevka left much to be desired and change (at least in this case) was not all so bad. They elect to leave for America to live with relatives.
An energetic, polished cast of seventh graders supported the storyline throughout the play. Dancers, Russian soldiers, a rabbi, a priest, villagers, and even a real fiddler (Will Lamb) kept the audience fully entertained. The stage crew was superb, managing quick, transitions between each of the fifteen scenes. The scenery, makeup and intricate period costumes (designed and created by students and parents) lent credibility and authenticity to the performance. The use of many real props, including a live chicken (which laid an egg during Friday night's performanceonly in Carlisle!) contributed to the overall effect.
Literally every member of the seventh-grade class contributed to the success of this production, either by appearing on stage, serving on the stage crew, ushering, etc. The record-breaking cast was directed by Catherine Pringle, Angela Dipace, and Andrea Zollo, and Marjorie Johnson served as producer. Their passion for this project was clearly visible in the high production values of the finished work and in the enthusiasm of the students. L'Chaim!
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito