Fiddler on the Roof: a treasure

Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof

I was surprised to see Fiddler on the Roof was shown on Channel 5 this afternoon (Thursday). This is my favourite musical and I dedicated the whole afternoon indulging in its joy, sorrow and self-deprecating humour. I cried, of course. How could you not? The emotions are so powerful. Watching the ending when the villagers and Tevya’s family leave Anatevka, it was utterly heart-breaking.

I first heard of the musical just over 20 years ago at university, as the young and charming Chinese professor in philosophy recommended it. I’ve watched the musical many times since, but the question of ‘what is tradition’ stays fresh ever.

How do you keep up with change? How deep is your love to your child? Is your love unconditional? What do you do when there’s a clash to your belief? When do you let go?

I’m so glad that I have watched such a poignant, thought provoking musical before the year ends. I grew up in a traditional hierarchical society and I have experienced clashing values and suppression. Now I’m living in the west and I’m acutely aware of cultural differences. This remarkable musical speaks to me, refreshes my mind and challenges me emotionally that no other musicals ever did.

7 thoughts on “Fiddler on the Roof: a treasure

  1. ShimonZ

    I am so glad, Janet, that you’ve had the opportunity to get a little taste of our culture through this musical. It doesn’t surprise me that you are reminded of tradition in your own culture when you see this, because we both come from ancient cultures, and there is a sort of quality that builds with tradition, over the generations.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Dear Simon,

      This wonderful musical is so rich, so beautiful in many levels. It always touches me so much to see how people preserve their tradition, and how they try to live a way of life that is desirable, and how they aim at showing respect to people and God. It’s the time of retrospection at the end of the year, and this musical reminds me of my youthful days at university, when I was first introduced to this musical, and the impact that it had on me when I first watched it in front of a small telly, wearing the headphones, in an audio-visual room, trying to understand the English. Now 20 years have passed, the impact hasn’t waned. Human suffering and mass exodus haven’t stopped either.
      I particularly enjoy the Sabbath part in the musical, and of course, the joyous dance in Lechaim.

  2. Janet Williams Post author

    Dear Tilly,

    Thank you for reminding me of this revolutionary young man. Paul Glaser did a brilliant job in this musical and I wouldn’t blame the girl falling in love for him.

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