The actress chatted to Emma Clarendon about starring as Chava in Trevor Nunn’s successful revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
Hi Nicola – how have you found being part of Fiddler on the Roof? I feel so privileged to be part of such a monumental production, and feel so grateful to get to tell this heart warming, yet harrowing story set in a little shtetl which tells the tale of a family’s struggle between faith, traditions and modern day living. The music is undeniably brilliant and helps to tell the story further, It has been very emotional playing Chava but a real treat to portray her and bring her passions to life on stage.
What would you say makes this musical special? The story is set in a fictional village in Russia but we are constantly reminded that the events that take place are very real and touch so many people because, unfortunately, it feels very relevant in today’s society. Something I love so much about this musical is how many people in the audience that it touches and affects on a personal level, and we have had people that have come to see the show share their own personal story with us. It just reiterates that we’re not just telling the story of Fiddler, we are sharing part of history and telling the story of our Jewish ancestors.
What have you enjoyed the most about playing Chava? Chava’s story is heartbreaking and her strength, innocence and open-mindedness, make it diﬃcult not to fall in love with her. She is so incredibly ahead of her time and her enthusiasm to learn and to enrich her knowledge of the world is something that I admire about her. Becoming Chava and getting to portray her story is an absolute dream and it’s an honour to be part of such a wonderful family on stage and off stage.
Do you have a favourite moment in the show? One of my favourite moments in the show is one of the most emotional scenes for me as an actor. When Chava and Fyedka go to visit the family one last time, she tries one ﬁnal time to gain acceptance from Tevye as she knows that due to circumstance they may never see each other ever again and just as they’re about to leave Tevye utters the words “and God be with you”. This is extremely gratifying for my character as it means that she will be able to have a relationship with her family even though they may never see each other again- not only that but it demonstrates that no matter what tradition is, family is one of the most important things in the world- a really special moment.
How would you describe the musical? I feel like people have their pre-conceived notions of Fiddler and some are shocked when they see that whilst its incredibly emotional, it also very funny. It’s so cleverly written and takes the audience through every emotion. If I had to sum it up in five words, I would describe it as: emotional, poignant, clever, funny and heartfelt.
What do you think makes Fiddler on the Roof relevant for audiences today? The one thing that makes Fiddler relevant is seeing the struggles that characters come into with faith, religion, and gaining acceptance in society and although the story is set in the early 1900’s, it still shows that although the world has moved on since then, we still have a long way to go when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any type in today’s society.
For those who haven’t seen it yet why should they come along to the Playhouse Theatre? This is unlike any production of Fiddler that has come before. It’s so intimate, captivating and truthful and being part of this wonderful cast and bringing the legendary Trevor Nunn’s vision to life is a truly beautiful thing. We’re only here till the 2nd of November and you’d be silly to miss out on this wonderful story!
By Emma Clarendon
Fiddler on the Roof continues to play at the Playhouse Theatre until the 2nd November.To book tickets click here or visit: ATG Tickets, Love Theatre.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Encore Tickets, From the Box Office , Last Minute.com, West End Theatre Breaks or See Tickets.