OCEAN PARK - Could there be a better choice of directors for a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" than Barbara Poulshock?
I don't think so.
Poulshock and her husband Normand - who died in 2003 - taught music for more than 30 years before they retired to the North Coast in 1993.
Barbara Poulshock, an 81-year-old resident of Ocean Park, taught opera, voice and vocal literature at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland.
Through the 1980s, the couple had often summered in and around Ilwaco, and chose to make the community their retirement home.
But there's a greater connection between Poulshock and the production than simply music.
Normand Poulshock's mother-in-law, Esther Gebe, her mother and seven siblings were Jewish Russians who fled Russia in 1905, during one of the worst pogroms of the time. Pogrom is a Russian word for riots directed against particular groups of people, most notably Jews.
Gebe's father, who was a well-respected cabinetmaker at a slightly higher social position than other peasants, stayed in the pale - an area of Russia where Jews were forced to live.
They never saw him again.
"My mother-in-law remembered hiding a rabbi in the cellar. The Russians would take her parents away for awhile, then bring them back," Poulshock said. "She hid under the table while rabbi taught her brothers to read. Girls weren't allowed to learn to read."
Fiddler" takes place at the same time, Poulshock said.
She said when she was looking for a venue for the show, she settled on the Fort Columbia Theater because it had been built at the same time (1905).
So, it has some history too.
"I chose it for its esthetics, ambiance and acoustics," Poulshock said.
The stage at the theater is hardly large enough to accommodate the 40-member cast, so Poulshock opened the stage into the wings and built a ramp down the center aisle for actors to enter and exit.
"It's similar to theater-in-the-round," Poulshock said.
The show will feature some of the area's finest talent.
Cindy Flood choreographed the show.
"The dancing in this is phenomenal," Poulshock beamed. "I picked the show because the main character, Tevye - Michael Campellone was just born to play the role."
Poulshock has enjoyed a very busy retirement.
Architectural details in the theater resemble her dream home in Ocean Park. She had admired the house for years before she bought it.
She kept passing by the place - which was built as a summer home in 1913 - on her way to and from her own home.
Poulshock became friends with the home's owner, who eventually sold the house to her.
She moved into the house about a year and a half ago, and discovered that - being a summer home - it's not insulated, which makes it a little cool during the North Coast winters.
During the past few years she has written three compositions for a national music publisher. She has published books, and continues to teach voice and piano privately.