“Fiddler on the Roof”, happiness within pain


Fiddler on the Roof By Stein, Bock & Harnick Fall 2009, showcase of the Fall 2009 play “Fiddler on the Roof” at West Texas A&M University, courtesy of West Texas A&M University Theatre.

The 1971 musical film adapted from the 1964 Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof” emphasizes enjoying life while it is raining outside.

The character of Tevye is a poor milkman, who manages to sing in spite of the poverty in feudal Russia. What can we learn from this?

The Utah Shakespeare Festival focuses on the emblematic nature of the film, which exemplifies tradition as something that must change. This is also shown through the end of the film, in which Tevye and what is left of his family head to America from Russia.

What was left of Tevye’s family?

Tevye has three daughters, and they all got married to men the Jewish tradition would look down upon. Tzeitel, his eldest, marries a man who loves to sew and is poor instead of a butcherman. The importance of choice in “Fiddler on the Roof” is clear, because all of Tevye’s daughters marry men they desire.

Hodel, the second daughter, marries a man who loves to argue in a loving way and finally, Chava falls in love with a Russian Orthodox Christian.

“If I Were A Rich Man” is a song that Tevye repeats during the film, and it exemplifies the lack of control he had over his family, and the path of his daughters in a world where it was important to marry.

Tevye had to smile at the end of the film, while the Jews were told to leave feudal Russia, simply because “whatever will be will be.”

I want readers to understand that you can be in the worst situation, and you can smile. The reason this film is my favorite is because it shouts, “be happy even if you are in hell!”

Despite singing “If I Were A Rich Man” throughout the film, Tevye appreciates what he has, and that contentedness carries him through his struggles.

I want us to also carry happiness with us, even if your exam didn’t go well, even if work is really tough or the kids are stressing you out.

It is possible to exist happily, no matter what is happening and it helps to have wonderful people around you. Tevye for one had a huge family and he still had daughters after the older ones left.

As the semester comes to a close, and Christmas comes nearer, I want you all to know that you can be right as rain.

I cannot promise that everything will be alright, but it will be okay.

A note: If you are feeling particularly down, there are ways to receive help, as West Texas A&M University offers counseling services to faculty, students and staff in which you can be supported through your struggles and talk with a counselor.