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Fiddler at Eldridge

Anyone who knows anything about teaching knows that virtually all teachers work very, very hard. By the end of the day, they’re tired, though they still may have a night of paper grading and lesson planning ahead of them.

At Hayward’s Eldridge Elementary School, however, one teacher for sure ends her school day rarin’ to go. Martie Canterberry teaches fifth grade during the school day. After school though, she volunteers as the heart and soul of the Eldridge Drama Club--55 second through sixth graders who are actively involved practicing the famous Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof.

She rehearses the whole cast for over two hours after school, plus individual scenes at lunch. All this for two performances, coming up soon, May 16 and 17. Anyone who has acted know this means Hell Week will get them soon, with increased rehearsals in full costumes. And ohhhh, are they worth it.

At first glance, an observer might think he’s entered a beehive. Fifty-five kids are active, and the buzz of their activity just dominates the multi-purpose room. That is, until Ms. Canterberry commands their attention. Speaking intensely, speaking in great detail, speaking with a praising yet still matter-of-fact voice, the director rules the room. And from the depth of detail she’s teaching them, it’s obvious she knows this play inside out.

A whirlwind of perpetual motion, she gives constant direction regarding behavior, props, music tapes, lights, different groups, different parts, blocking, adding furniture, adding costumes, and pulling the best from them as singers.

And when 55 strong, angelic voices launch into a Broadway show stopper, it’s obvious that Ms. Canterberry—besides spending much of her own time and money, for no extra pay-- has spent months laying the groundwork for what will be wonderful performances. Eryson Moreno and Issamar Garcia sing the leads with fine voices for ones so young. And when joined by the whole chorus, the applause will be deafening.

So Thursday, May 16, and Friday, May 17, theater fans should flock to Hayward’s Eldridge Elementary School for two fine showings of Fiddler on the Roof. Showtime is 7 pm. Tickets are $5.00 for fans 5 and older, and may be purchased in the school office. Call 510-723-3825, extension 0 for more information.


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