Performing “Fiddler on the Roof” began as a dare for Gary theater director Michael Powell.

One of his students asked him last year if he could only direct one more show, what would it be?

“I said, ‘Well, I’ve always wanted to do ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ but I don’t know if I could ever do it,’” Powell said. “And we were on a high, because we’d been to state (in One-Act Play), and we thought we could do anything, so I was like, well, let’s just do it.”

Gary Fall Playfest will take place this weekend at Daniel Springs Baptist Camp with three shows. Students will perform Thursday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. The school’s theatre production class will perform “Fiddler on the Roof” all three nights. Theatre one students will perform “Measure for Measure” by William Shakespeare Thursday and Sunday, and the Junior high theater class will perform “Bob: A Life in Five Acts” on Saturday and Sunday.

Junior Dylan Essery is playing Tevye, the lead in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Essery said he liked the challenge of playing a character who changes so much over the course of the show.

“At the beginning of the show, he’s so full of life and happy, and just a big character, big personality, big guy,” Essery said. “And gradually throughout the show things happen, and it gradually just tears him down and beats him down to the point where he’s kind of just really like, he’s lost his big, big happiness and has become kind of more angered and upset with everything. Like for example, at the beginning of the show he talks to God with fascination and love and glory, but near the end of the show, he’s getting angry at God all the time and stuff like that. So really it’s a lot of change in character. He has a big character arc.”

Senior Sarolyn Musick said it’s kind of her forte to portray older characters and playing Golde is nice. Golde is the wife of Tevye and mother of the five daughters — which Musick said was the most children she’s ever had as a character.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” she said. “It’s already so much fun, so I just know it’s gonna be awesome to show everybody... this is probably my last musical at Gary, so it’s bittersweet because we did a musical my freshman year I think, but we haven’t done one since then, and this is one that we’re all really devoted to, so it’s just nice to actually like, go out with a bang. Like it’s not my last show, but it’s kind of beginning of the end. So if this show goes amazing, it just leads up to an amazing year.”

Part of Sophomore Katie Cameron’s role as the middle daughter Hodel includes singing a solo, which she said she was really terrified to do.

“I’m also really excited to do it because it kind of like gives me a chance to express emotions, and I get to feel everything that I want to feel, and I just get to show everybody what I’m capable of and just bring tears to everybody’s eyes from the song,” she said.

Junior Morgan Fondren said this year’s theater experience is a lot different from previous years.

“Not just because it’s a new year, but last year we only had one person leave the cast, and this year we have six new people I think,” she said. “And so yeah, but it’s been really fun getting to know these people, and I think that once we started kind of bonding and everything, the whole play process got a whole lot more fun and building it with all these people. ... I like being able to try new things, and the experience, and so it’s like digging into yourself and looking for something you never thought was there, and so you get to experience whatever this time period is, and I’ve never done a musical, so that’s also something really fun about this.”

Daniel Springs Baptist Camp is located at 1751 FM 999 in Gary.