Tradition is the central theme of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, but the production in Welcome to Anatevka is far from traditional. Filmmakers Ruth Leitman and James Jernigan go behind the scenes of auditions and rehearsals for a production of Fiddler at the Habima Theater of the Atlanta Jewish Community Center that features adult actors with developmental disabilities, high school students and theater professionals. Named for the village in which Fiddler is set, Welcome to Anatevka give us a new perspective on the craft of the theater and the lives of the disabled. Among the film’s strengths is that it shows disabled actors acting the same as other aspiring thespians-working to finesse their performances, fussing over being upstaged, and carrying on a backstage romantic triangle-without shying away from the realities of the actors disabilities, including hot tempers, intractable anxieties and difficult behavior. And it’s these fears and challenges that make the success of opening night all the sweeter.
A Film by Ruth Leitman and James Jernigan
- 22 adult actors with developmental disabilities, 8 theater professionals,
- 13 high school drama students,
- 10 weeks until curtain. . .
- Breakdowns, crushes, catfights, seizures… ‘Break a leg.’
Welcome to Anatevka.