Fiddling with Traditions

Fiddling with Traditions

Cappies Review

Traditions. Every town and family has them. Some flicker and fade with time, while some burn strong for generations. In Annandale High School’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” we see Anatevka, a tight-knit town, enduring extreme changes, still toasting to love, tradition and life. L'Chaim!

“Any new idea would be strange to you,” announces the radical Perchik. In a Russian shtetl, resistant to the revolutionizing customs of society, we find Tevye, a poor milkman desperately trying to cling to tradition. However, as his daughters fall in love with men of their own choosing, Tevye is forced to reexamine his roles as father and man of God. As he struggles to find his identity, he must ask, can one really have tradition if there is no family with whom to share it?

FROM HIS deadpan sarcasm, to convincing debates with God, Jonathan Seiden plays the tired Tevye with zeal and a commanding charisma. Songs such as “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sabbath Prayer” showcase his smooth voice and ability to balance the multitude of emotions experienced by his conflicted character.

As Golde, Ashley Lippolis plays the kvetching matriarch with an accuracy that will do any Jewish mother proud. Her powerful voice echoes conviction throughout the auditorium.

The rich unity of the ensemble enables the cast to effectively portray the show’s weighty themes of religious oppression, poverty and family strife.

In a town where the family is the epicenter of life, it is appropriate that Tevye’s house constitutes the entire set. The simplicity of the double-sided structure not only speaks to the economic status of the villagers, but also draws the focus of the show to the people in the house. The bland earth-toned costumes aptly contrast the anything-but bland lifestyles of the townspeople. From the inspiring orchestra numbers to the hauntingly dulcet song of the fiddler on the roof, the music beautifully reflects the tone of the show.

“Everyone of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a simple tune,” Tevye states. Annandale’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” shows us that in a crazy and changing world, our traditions, like a fiddler on the roof, may be placed in a precarious position. However, amidst love, revolution and the ever-evolving traditions of our families, the harmonies we seek out in life are certainly never simple.