4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Fiddler jumps off the roof

Loudness is not passion and energy is not conviction.

Danny Burstein as Tevye
Danny Burstein as Tevye

I saw a Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof on Thursday, August 18. The set and lighting were perfect. The orchestra glimmered with the polish of a thousand and one performances. Dancers executed modern variations of traditional dances with astonishing precision.

Yet the most overwhelming part of the show was the lack of truth in the performances of every single cast member.

Here we go.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Fiddler is a funny, beautiful, and touching show. It does not need actors to make it into a funny, beautiful, and touching show. It needs actors to be truthful so the funny, the beautiful, and the touching can be experienced by an audience.

These Broadway professionals were hell-bent on making Fiddler more funny, more beautiful, and more touching. By doing so the show became less funny, less beautiful, and less touching.

I should explain what I mean by the actors being dishonest. “Less than authentic” is probably a better way to say it. And what is “less than authentic”?

In his textbook Five Approaches to Acting, David Kaplan quotes the novel Father Goriot by Honoré de Balzac. This description of Father Goriot’s authentic emotion is what we are looking for:

“It is worthy of remark that true feeling acts like an inspiration. No matter how ordinary a man may be, whenever he gives expression to a real and strong affection, he is wrapped in an impalpable essence that alters his countenance, animates his gestures and lends a new inflection to his voice. Under the stress of passion, the dullest being may reach the highest degree of eloquence of thought, if not of language, and seems to be transfigured. At this moment, the old man’s voice and gestures possessed the communicative power that marks a great actor. Are not our fine feelings the poetry of the will?”

We’ve all witnessed even the most sedentary of personalities light up once the correct subject is breached. In an instant the formerly boring party guest starts to hold forth with the passion and commitment of a camp-meeting evangelist and we begin to wish they would shut up.

While the energy of this production of Fiddler was through-the-roof-high, the sincerity was missing. It was almost as if this wasn’t the right subject for these actors to be passionate about. Considering the subject matter of Fiddler, I’m not sure how that could be possible, but the fact remains that loudness is not passion and energy is not conviction.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Earliest Sunset, Liquidambar Trees, Mars is Closest until 2033

Cabrillo Monument is a great place to watch the early sunset
Next Article

Who built this award-winning Del Mar seaside mansion?

We've got a clear view of the Pacific running to the edge of the earth
Danny Burstein as Tevye
Danny Burstein as Tevye

I saw a Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof on Thursday, August 18. The set and lighting were perfect. The orchestra glimmered with the polish of a thousand and one performances. Dancers executed modern variations of traditional dances with astonishing precision.

Yet the most overwhelming part of the show was the lack of truth in the performances of every single cast member.

Here we go.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Fiddler is a funny, beautiful, and touching show. It does not need actors to make it into a funny, beautiful, and touching show. It needs actors to be truthful so the funny, the beautiful, and the touching can be experienced by an audience.

These Broadway professionals were hell-bent on making Fiddler more funny, more beautiful, and more touching. By doing so the show became less funny, less beautiful, and less touching.

I should explain what I mean by the actors being dishonest. “Less than authentic” is probably a better way to say it. And what is “less than authentic”?

In his textbook Five Approaches to Acting, David Kaplan quotes the novel Father Goriot by Honoré de Balzac. This description of Father Goriot’s authentic emotion is what we are looking for:

“It is worthy of remark that true feeling acts like an inspiration. No matter how ordinary a man may be, whenever he gives expression to a real and strong affection, he is wrapped in an impalpable essence that alters his countenance, animates his gestures and lends a new inflection to his voice. Under the stress of passion, the dullest being may reach the highest degree of eloquence of thought, if not of language, and seems to be transfigured. At this moment, the old man’s voice and gestures possessed the communicative power that marks a great actor. Are not our fine feelings the poetry of the will?”

We’ve all witnessed even the most sedentary of personalities light up once the correct subject is breached. In an instant the formerly boring party guest starts to hold forth with the passion and commitment of a camp-meeting evangelist and we begin to wish they would shut up.

While the energy of this production of Fiddler was through-the-roof-high, the sincerity was missing. It was almost as if this wasn’t the right subject for these actors to be passionate about. Considering the subject matter of Fiddler, I’m not sure how that could be possible, but the fact remains that loudness is not passion and energy is not conviction.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms in Escondido

Payare levitates for the victory
Next Article

Tijuana gas station clerk stiffed, dies on El Pacifico busy street

Did not follow protocol, says Arco
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close