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'Fiddler' plays with the generation gap.

Byline: Theater review by Samantha Demboski For The Register-Guard

TRADITION IS THE driving force in the small village of Anatevka, as the town's Jewish inhabitants strive to protect their culture in 1905 Czarist Russia.

The Thurston High School production of the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" portrays Anatevka as a town trapped between the changing ideals of old and young in a Russia on the verge of revolution. The audience sees this struggle play out in the home of Tevye (Michael Waymire) as he attempts to instill his own principles in his five daughters.

Conflicts arise as the children begin to learn that some things take precedence over custom and convention. The arrival of the young student Perchik (played with charming enthusiasm by Ryan Cullen) with his radical ideas helps Tevye's daughters to break out of the boundaries their parents have created.

One of the daughters, Hodel (Julee Reinhart), falls for Perchik and must choose between her family or her true love. Reinhart lends her beautiful voice to the song "Far From the Home I Love," a touching solo expressing Hodel's dilemma. As Hodel and Perchik, Cullen and Reinhart aptly show the growing affection between their characters.

As events unfold, the village intently watches. In a place as small as Anatevka, news travels fast, and rarely ends up the same news it started as.

In the delightful number "The Rumor," the people of Anatevka learn something about Perchik, and proceed to twist it as it travels from one person to the next.

Another song involving the entire company deserves recognition: "Tevye's Dream," the exciting, faintly psychedelic and wonderfully staged song depicting a "message" Tevye receives from the grave. The chorus members' voices are always in harmony with each other and are a dynamic presence at several points in the story.

Unfortunately, not everything is perfect. Although the voices during the opening are good, the dancing is not synchronized. The orchestra is not entirely in sync with the actors at points during the show, but they do extraordinarily well considering their short rehearsal time together.

At times, the exchanges between characters seem strained and slightly awkward. Tevye's eldest daughter and her fiance, although supposedly in love, seem more like brother and sister in their interactions.

Although the show has weaknesses, the good points easily outnumber them.

The set is well designed and constructed and perfectly fits the locale. Special commendation also should be given to two actors in supporting roles: Rebekah Lyons as Yente and Brett French as Nachum. The parts are small, but these two performers light up the stage with their zest.

Overall, Thurston's "Fiddler on the Roof" is faithful to the story, preferring accuracy to extravagance. This dedication to truthfulness makes it a joy to watch.

Samantha Demboski is a student at South Eugene High School. This review is part of the Cappies program, in which local students review theatrical productions at schools other than their own.


WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday

WHERE: Thurston High School, 333 58th St., Springfield

HOW MUCH: $8 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens (988-5350)
COPYRIGHT 2002 The Register Guard
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Title Annotation:Review; Reviews
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 22, 2002
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