This weekend, I participated in my school’s musical Fiddler on the Roof as part of the special effects crew.
It was a unique experience from working on the crew for a film. The two platforms, plays and forms, are both very similar and very different in many different ways. Let’s explore a few.
The Live Factor
When someone makes a mistake on a film production, it gets sent to the blooper reel and they retake the shot. However, as plays and musicals are performed before a live audience, the actors and crew must find clever and improvisational ways to cover up the inevitable mistakes. If a prop breaks or an actor forgets his or her line, it could affect the smooth movement of the play. Therefore, shows often perform better in these stressful situations when they are not memorizing their roles part by part, but rather reacting to the circumstances naturally each and every time, recreating the show with each performance. This kind of fluidity is not as necessary in film, as only one take is chosen anyway, and the rest turn to scrap.
People, Platform, & Price
For a theatrical production, the audience pays a fee to sit before your stage and watch your story unfold. However, to watch a short film is often free, and are typically viewed alone on a personal phone, tablet, or computer. On the internet or in a movie theater, the film can be rewatched infinitely many times, while a play has a limited number of performances. Similarly (yet on a flipped perspective), musicals get to be performed many times, while films are made once and released (or not released).
Cast & Crew
In both cases, film and theater, there is a feeling of togetherness. Everyone has gathered together for the same reason: their love of the act. I have been given great experiences to work with some dedicated people behind both the camera and the stage. Thank you, everyone who made these productions happen.
Aren’t We All…
In a way, aren’t we all fiddlers on the roof? We come together to play a beautiful tune. Yes, we may break our backs from time to time, but it is worth it for that tune. And it is not always the destination which is important. Sometimes the moments between the start and end can change us just as much. Never lose track of these moments.
Cut to the stage.