The second to last day of our Fiddler on the Roof run was a Friday. That evening, 30 minutes before the performance, cast and crew gathered in the green room. One of our cast members had prepared a Sabbath table—complete with Sabbath candles, challah bread, and several tiny cups of grape juice-cum-wine (no pre-show drinking!). I was not raised Jewish, and until my experience here with Fiddler knew very little about Jewish tradition and rituals. But last Friday night—circling our charmingly makeshift Sabbath table—the Fiddler family celebrated Shabbat. Jewish cast members sang prayers, while the rest of us passed the challah. The ritual was abridged; ladies were half pin-curled and men were yet to be in costume, and we had a show to put on! Still, our little celebration gave me goosebumps. I think it imbued our final weekend of performances with a special familial energy.
Our “Green Room Shabbat” exemplifies how close our cast came to feel both on stage and off. It also demonstrates how each of our cast members was readily willing to share his or her knowledge and personal experiences with the rest of us—whether it was their knowledge and experience within the Jewish faith or within the theatre industry.
Our final performance was difficult to get through. When the majority of the cast convened for our last exodus scene, well, a dry eye was hard to come by. As the performance drew to a close, I was overwhelmed by emotion for a number of reasons. I had completed the run of my first professional show. I had discovered things about myself and my Fiddler character I hadn’t known before I got here. And, perhaps most importantly, I had met a unique cast of people—teachers, mentors, friends—from whom I received endless support and learned a great deal. You put so much of your physical and emotional self into a show, it’s hard to not feel deeply connected to the people with whom you’ve shared the stage.
I don’t want to get too maudlin. Sure, the 48 hours after the Fiddler closing was difficult. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that things are not going to get boring any time soon here at Barrington Stage Company. Heck, just the other day Marin Mazzie taught me how to shake my booty—a far cry from Anatevka!