Tuesday, August 14, 2012

As the Good Book Says...

Last night I watched Fiddler on the Roof, a musical based on Joseph Stein's book, performed at the Scera Theater.  This was one of my grandpa's favorite musicals, and it is certainly a favorite of mine.  I have seen it many times, but I was impressed by this performance.  The singing, dancing, costumes, choreography, and the overall execution were excellent.

There were many things that I gleaned from last night's performance that I haven't in previous viewings, particularly in regards to traditions and change, but there is one song in particular that has always captured my attention and inspired my heart.  As Tevye's daughters have paired off, the revolutionary Perchik comes to the realization that he has everything, and with Hodel's hand, he has a little bit more:

"...now i have everything,
not only everything,
i have a little bit more
besides having everything,
i know what everything's for."
All of Perchik's revolutionary ambitions, what he called, "the most important work a man can do" now paled in comparison to his love for Hodel.  He would still travel and be imprisoned, but he didn't just work for the people.  He now had something that he could die for, and something that he could live for too.  Of course, the tailor, the Russian boy, and even Tevye had all this as well... and none of it came from the village matchmaker, at least not from Yente.

As the good book says, Fiddler on the Roof is one of the greatest musicals ever composed.  But it is also a profound tribute to the centrality of faith and the family to a strong, cohesive society.  When the czar orders the evacuation of the Jews from Anatevka, he has succeeded in displacing an entire village, but even he could not displace the bonds of faith and of young love.  If I were a rich man, I could only hope that it would afford me the time to write something so inspiring and so worth remembering.