CULTURE

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in Athens

One of the most celebrated musicals of all time, «Fiddler on the Roof» (music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Joseph Stein), goes on stage at the Herod Atticus Theater next week, on September 2, 3 and 4. Part of this year’s Athens Festival events, the musical features members of the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra and choir members of the Wuppertaler Buehnen. «The play’s subject is plain, human and solid,» said Attila Lang, the production’s director at a press conference earlier this week. «’Fiddler on the Roof’ takes place in a small Russian village in 1905, where Russians and Jews live side by side. The play shows the hardship of the Jewish community, without pointing any fingers. There is no hint as to what happened later on in history. That is the way we staged it. The audience is free to make the necessary connections.» «Inspired by a Chagall painting, the fiddler is a middle-aged man with sad, yet playful eyes, who does not seem to be bound by the rules of nature. When observing him on the rooftops, you wonder whether he will keep playing his music or whether he will come tumbling down… The play is about the joy of life, love, without discarding deep sadness. Sadness and seriousness are evident in all scenes, even the most joyful ones.» The work is based on a story by Sholem Aleichem, a Russian-Jewish author born in the Ukraine in 1859, who became a rabbi and scholar. After emigrating to Kiev in 1893, he fled the city to save himself from a pogrom against the Jews and finally sought refuge in the USA in 1905. Having failed to establish himself as a playwright in New York, he traveled throughout the country, building a reputation as a storyteller. He died in New York in 1916 and his grave in Brooklyn became a shrine for many members of the Jewish community. At the Herod Atticus Theater, the production’s choreography is by Rosita Steinhauser, who traveled to Tel Aviv in order to acquaint herself with Jewish weddings and ceremonies. The sets are by Attila Lang and Matthias Kilger and the costumes by Marette Oppenberg. The cast is led by Hartmut Bauer, Ingeborg Wolff, Sascha Icks, Sabina Martin, Gaby Kosik and Raimund Fischer. The Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Simon Rekers. «Fiddler on the Roof,» at the Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou, tel 210.323.2771. Performances on September 2, 3 and 4 at 8.30 p.m. With Greek supertitles. Tickets are also available at the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.322.1459.