How can I hope to make you understand
Why I do what I do,
Why I must travel to a distant land,
Far from the home I love.
The song “Far From the Home I Love” has long been one of my favourites from Fiddler on the Roof, yet it was only during my fifth viewing of AIM Management’s production that I realised how apt the lyrics are for travellers like myself.
I’ve been asked many times recently why I’m travelling, and each time I find myself rather flabbergasted because, well, I can’t imagine not wanting to do this.
Usually, I just say that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t planning travel; that as soon as I got a job at age 15 I began placing the majority of my earnings into a “travel fund”; and that my trip to Japan at age 19 cemented my exhilaration over exploring other cultures (and other culture’s food).
Yet after spending four days with the musicians who help make AIM Management’s Fiddler on the Roof so memorable and moving, I have a new explanation for why I, and hopefully others, travel to distant lands:
Because sometimes, when you take a chance and throw yourself into a new experience, you get gifted with beautiful, uplifting, laughter-filled and friendship-creating days that shimmer above all the jet-lag-induced oven burns*, flight delays, and moments of loneliness, and remind you that not only is life worth living, but you’re worth living it.
(Yes, I realise this is bordering on Hallmark. I’m not trying to sell anything, though, so bear with me.)
I watched Fiddler four times in Coral Springs. Consequently, I feel confident stating that this group of performers, musicians, and crew members are more than proficient at what they do. Each performance was as passionate and funny as the last, with the 11-piece orchestra playing a key role in heightening the story through the music.
(Side note: You know how some fancy restaurants offer Chef’s Tables, whereby patrons can sit in the kitchen and watch the chefs cook the food served to them? I think theatres should start selling premium seats in the orchestra pit. Speaking from experience, there is nothing like being among the musicians as they play. My evening spent in the orchestra may have been my favourite of the lot.)
Even more fun and happy-making than watching the performances were the moments in between, such as when I chatted to members of the cast (Thesa Loving, one day I’ll make it to Austria and the concert hall you raved about), saw how sets and lights were operated, and brainstormed with the effervescent producer Don Westwood about finding financial backing in Australia for a Fiddler Down Under tour. (I think this will involve me wearing my new Fiddler shirt at opportune moments.)
After trips to Boca Raton for Guinness, trips to Starbucks for coffee, trips to delis for sandwiches and pickles, and trips to the poolside in the early hours of the morning for post-performance wind-downs, I can say that the musical theatre life is rather a rewarding and superb one (of course, I didn’t have to do any of that “working” bit).
And just to close, I have to send a few messages to the musicians with whom I spent the most time…
To the trombonist: I win. You will never get me inside an Outback Steakhouse.
To the trumpeter: It only took me four attempts today to turn on my computer with my stick. I’m getting better at this.
To the accordionist: I promise to relay your message to “the old girl” when I see her – and maybe, one day, you’ll be able to in person.
To the flautist: Your smile. *hug*
To the violinist: I wish I could entertain everyone so much simply by referring to petrol stations.
To the music director: Awed by your talent. And thank you.
* Apparently, one’s reaction time after getting 6 hours of sleep in 48 hours is not so stellar. Apparently, one doesn’t bother to run one’s hand under cold water, much less look for medication, when one gets a nasty burn from pulling a pie out of the oven after getting 6 hours of sleep in 48 hours. Apparently, this results in a rather a lot of hurty later on.