For the first time since tour began, we had to officially say goodbye to an original member of the cast. Our Fyedka left for another job closer to home and family, which is sad but understandable nonetheless. He is a terrific guy. Fun, dedicated, professional, and certainly very talented. But still, his exit was jarring. We have known for a while that this was coming, so the biggest surprise was the reaction from the cast to his departure. During the final scene, cast mates gathered in the wings to watch him, as well as his character, say farewell to Anatevka. Then after we took our last company bow, he was brought forward and turned to face his peers as we gave the most sincere form of appreciation we know - an overwhelming round of applause.
Most people were taken aback by the sudden swelling of tears as the curtain came down on this man's journey with us. But after months (which feel like years) on the road you have long since realized that Fiddler is so much more than a show. It is a Community. It is a metaphor for life. It is family. And how can you ever truly say goodbye to family? After all, Tevye's entire village had to spread far and wide, including his own daughters. This is not so unlike tour life. Family is far away, and contact is never convenient nor consistent. The entertainment world in general always faces this issue. There are more hello's and goodbye's than in any other business. But Tevye and the villagers of Anatevka understood. You must keep moving forward. Gone, but never forgotten. And if nothing else, we shall see each other again in the promised land. At least these days we have the internet, airplanes and cell phones.
We only just drove away from him this morning when another important event brought our little traveling town together. The Jewish Holiday of Passover. For those like me who are not Jewish, this is their celebration of the freedom of slaves from Egypt. And for those who know Moses' tale in the Old Testament, it commemorates the events of the twelfth plague. Specifically the passing of the Angel of Death over those houses whose doors had lamb's blood, the mark instructed by God, above the threshold. Now living on a bus, as well as driving through desert and mountains for days, provided some interesting challenges in organizing a traditional seder dinner. Grocery stores were few and far between. A kitchen was out of the question. And did I mention that 3/4 of the cast isn't jewish, let alone reads hebrew text. But like the villagers of Anatevka, we found a way to adapt to our circumstances while keeping tradition alive.
For as long as we may have it...L'Chaim!
Favour them oh Lord with Happiness and Peace.
Oh hear our Sabbath prayer!