Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tradition! On the Other Hand.

When my age was 22 (1969) , my fiancee and I were in Brooklyn to visit her relatives and tour her hometown. As part of the Big Apple experience, we attended the Broadway play Fiddler on the Roof. I enjoyed the music and lyrics from Matchmaker Matchmaker, If I Were A Rich Man, and Sunrise Sunset.

When my age was 59 (2006), I subbed in a high school drama class where students watched the movie musical Fiddler on the Roof. The day I substituted we viewed the second hour into the movie. The room was a large choir room with high ceilings and spacious walls. A laptop computer powered the DVD disc, a digital projector cast the images high on the enormous wall, and an amplifier emitted high volume sounds. It was a theater-like setting. Many students pushed aside their chairs, lay on the carpeted floor and rested their heads on book bags.

During the class period we watched the part where Tevye, the milkman, reached agreement with Lazar, the wealthy butcher, to marry Tevye's daughter, Tzeitel. There was singing, dancing and celebration in the village tavern following the handshake agreement between "papa" and the future son-in-law.

When papa announced to his daughter, Tzeitel, and the rest of the family his decision that Lazar would become his daughter's husband, panic and pleading ensued from Tzeitel who had made a pledge to marry Motel, the poor village tailor. More singing followed as tradition, reason and emotion were explained through lyrics.

Intertwined throughout this play was Tsarist Russia, pogrom, and the plight of the Jews in eastern Europe in the late 1800's.

As I repeated this viewing 4 times for the different classes, it was fun and interesting to watch students move to the music. Some wriggled shoulders or waved arms and hands, others patted their feet to the beat, some looked at others as if they wanted to move, but resisted.

A couple students dozed.

Have a good week.

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