Middle Park tells the story of tradition
In the Middle Park High School auditorium, the laughter of 40 students echoed off the walls. One at a time, with microphones taped to their faces, the leads stepped on stage for mic checks.
It was a week before opening night for “Fiddler on the Roof” and they were working through a tech rehearsal.
Senior Henry Kacik sat in the back row next to a complicated set up of computers. This is Kacik’s ninth show at Middle Park, and he is the technical director for the school’s upcoming musical.
The show has been the product of everyone’s hard work, but he and the other students involved are excited to see it all come together.
“When the audience finally comes in that is incredibly rewarding,” Kacik said. “To see them watch the story and see how they react is really rewarding in the process.”
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The famous musical centers on the poor dairyman Tevye (played by junior Cesar Arreguin), his wife Golde (senior Kayla Davis) and their five daughters as the family wrestles with changing societal values and growing anti-Semitism in Czarist Russia during the early 20th century.
Christal McDougall is the director of the show. In Fiddler, one of the main conflicts relates to the evolution of tradition. McDougall, who is in her third year as the theater director at the school, said that theme relates to her relatively new role at the school.
“We have traditions in the program, old and new,” McDougall said. “It gives everyone such a sense of community.”
The theater’s popularity at the school has increased dramatically in the past couple years. She attributed part of the growth to support from the school’s administration and generous donations from the community.
It’s not just high school students performing in this show; three middle school students are also participating. Sixth-grader Vallie Mace plays one of Tevye’s daughters alongside her sister in the show and in real life, sophomore Collette Mace.
Vallie said being in a high school production has been a great experience.
“Now I have high school friends,” Vallie said. “At football games they all say hi to me, and it’s really fun.”
This show is junior John Luna’s first with the theater program. He said it has been memorable performing in such a poignant show.
“Come to ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ because it’s three hours where you will honestly forget that you are you and you can forget all your problems,” Luna said.
As Kacik begins applying for college to study theater lighting and production, every application asks why he wants to pursue theater. To him, producing ‘Fiddler’ and shows like it allow him to share a story.
“I want to tell a story because I believe true stories change people,” Kacik said. “I think ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ at its core, holds a very tragic, tragic story… I want to be able to tell good stories to try and change people for the better. I’m hoping people will come see ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and think about it a little bit.”
The performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each evening. There is also a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. East Grand School District students are free.
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