Performing Before the Limelight

Behind the Scenes of Theater’s Upcoming Play


Photo by Kaylee Adkins

During their first all-day rehearsal, the Belles dance along with the ensemble. The team was recruited to help in “Fiddler on the Roof” as extra dancers.

Hidden behind the curtain, the cast and crew of “Fiddler on the Roof” get ready to hear their first round of applause Friday night. Before their grand opening, however, the actors have taken the time to reflect on all the effort put into the show.

The musical is set during 1905 in a small Russian town named Anatevka. Katelyn Clarke (11) spent hours practicing and perfecting the Russian accent she needs for her role as Golde.

“The accent was probably the hardest part,” Clarke said. “I listened to a bunch of different versions of the play. I looked up videos on how to do a Russian accent. I tried to figure it out the best I could.”

Other actresses, like Emma Phillips (12), had problems with her role that she had to solve as well.

“I scream-yell in my song and that’s kind of hard for me because I have a very soft voice,” Phillips said. “[I fixed this with] lots of practice. Just sitting in my room figuring out what I’m comfortable with and also just trying to be as confident as I can. I really had to go out of my comfort zone.”

Despite Phillip’s and Clarke’s problems, Isaac George (12) found that immersing himself into his character was an easy process.

“It’s pretty easy getting into your character when you relate to your character,” George said, “and there are some points where I’m kind of similar to Tevye. We both try to keep the peace in the town, but eventually it takes a toll on us when things out of our control happen.

While George was able to relate to Tevye in some ways, a key factor of the musical is the Jewish culture every character shares. George and his fellow cast mates were educated on Jewish traditions in order to make the production as legitimate as possible.

“In ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ the characters are Jewish so we actually had a little class with someone who came from a Jewish organization,” Clarke said. “They came and told us about different customs of the religion. That was really cool. We don’t do the prayers, but we kind of pantomime a little bit.”

Along with that unique opportunity, there were many other measures taken to recreate the original “Fiddler on the Roof.” While the leads basked in the limelight, the ensemble set an authentic atmosphere for the scenes.

“The entire town of Anatevka is kind of like a big family,” Abigail Atterberry (12) said, “so I think it’s nice to have so many people on stage during these scenes because it makes it feel warm and welcoming. When the ensemble is on stage with the leads, I hope the leads feel a little bit more confident in what they’re doing knowing that there’s so many people that are behind them helping out.”

Boosting one another up is a large part of theater. Time is taken before each performance to motivate the actors and actresses.

“Some people go over their lines for a scene, but majority of the time we have a circle before the actual performance,” Phillips said. “We like to talk about things that we love about each other and we do warm ups to get our vocals going.”

Opening night is on the minds of every performer, including Hailey Coleman (12). All of the after-school and weekend rehearsals will come to fruition this Thursday.

“It’s very tiring,” Coleman said, “but I think once we have opening night and the curtain closes it’s going to be an amazing feeling.”