From One Tevye to Another: Perspectives on Fiddler, Middle School, and Photography

It was a stroke of good luck that the Tevye in the upcoming Inly Middle School production of Fiddler on the Roof had the chance to meet and interview the Tevye from 2003 while they were both at Inly last week working on separate projects.

Mac M. (8th grade) was at Inly for a week-long “behind the scenes” internship with the administrative team. As part of his responsibilities in the communications office, he was able to interview Conor Detwiler (’03) who was on campus teaching a Project Week class in the Middle School.

The two Tevyes: Conor Detwiler and Mac M. Photo by Lucy K. (a 7th grade student in Conor's photography class)

Mac: You were an eighth grader when you performed the role of Tevye in the 2003 production of Fiddler on the Roof. What was your experience performing this role?

Conor: It was a lot of fun. I remember practicing my lines during a vacation in Morocco. I learned my lines on a train to Marrakech and came back home and performed the role. It was a lot of fun. I remember rehearsals with Colleen and Donna—that was probably the closest thing to voice lessons that I had ever had. I remember we all worked well together as a group and enjoyed each other’s company.

[Fun fact: the 2003 production of Fiddler was the first musical staged in the Meehan Family Artsbarn.]

Mac: What was your middle school experience like?

Conor: I think that those two years were probably the best ones in my later education. We had a lot of freedom to study what we wanted, to communicate as we wanted among ourselves. To think about what we wanted with a group and lead our own experiences.

Mac: How did an Inly education serve you in high school and beyond?

Conor: I have become an artist and I think that Inly has influenced that a lot—the mentality of doing everything yourself, in a group but motivating yourself. Not performing up to a certain par or standard but instead making your own course which I continue to do through art. I started a business designing handbags a few years ago, which is a lot like being a middle school student here—you make things work and use the resources that you find available. An Inly education has you thinking the same way.

Mac: What high school did you attend?

Conor: The Commonwealth School in Boston.

Mac: I hear that you are teaching a class in the Middle School now during Project Week. What is it about?

Conor: I am teaching a photography class to six kids and it’s a lot of fun. They are so creative, make their own decisions, and show me great stuff. And they take my advice—it’s great.

Mac: How did you become interested in photography?

Conor: This is hard to remember. I took pictures when we would travel as family. I think that I actually became interested in photography here at Inly Middle School during an internship with a photographer.

Mac: And what about photography makes you, well, love it?

Conor: I think that it was a chance to express myself initially and it required the least amount of technical training so I could move with it right away. For now, it’s the same as all art, its freedom.

Mac: What concepts and basic skills are you trying to convey in your class?

Conor: I think I am really just trying to get the students to develop their own perspectives. I give them loose definitions of what I want them to do. And I really want to see what they’re interested in and give them personalized comments in order to incite their interests.

Mac: Has photography taught you anything about life?

Conor: How to look at the world. As a photographer, you are always paying attention to what’s around you and what you can change to make it more interesting. And I think that the perspective that you develop as a photographer really starts to saturate every day.

Mac: Do you believe that Inly has played a big role in getting you to where you are today, and if so, why?

Conor: It’s too hard to define, but it has definitely been a positive influence.

Mac: Thank you.

Inly Middle School Presents
Fiddler on the Roof
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
7:00 pm
Meehan Family Artsbarn
Free and open to the public

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