Limerick Musical Society presents Fiddler on the Roof
Time & Location
11 March 2010
13 March 2010
About the Event
The curtains open on Tevye, a Jewish milkman in a little Russian village. He introduces us to his people's way of life and to the various personalities of the village (Tradition).
His three eldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava, are hanging out washing and dreaming of the men they will marry (Matchmaker). Tzeitel has a more realistic view than the other two and convinces them that it is better to wait. We meet Tzeitel's childhood friend, Motel, an apprentice tailor. Golde is visited by Yente, the matchmaker, who informs her of a possible match for Tzeitel.
Tevye prays to God, wondering why it is his family's lot that they should be so poor (If I Were A Rich Man). He meets a student, Perchik, who is looking for a job; he hires him to teach his two youngest daughters, Sphritze and Bielke.
Tevye and his family celebrate the Sabbath together, as do the other Jewish families in the village (Sabbath Prayer).
Golde informs Tevye that Lazar Wolf, the butcher, has a proposal to make him. Tevye at first believes that Lazar Wolf wants to buy his milk cow, but they eventually realise that he wishes to marry Tzeitel. Although Tevye doesn't like Lazar Wolf much, and they are actually the same age, he knows that the butcher is well off and that Tzeitel will be well provided for. He goes to the tavern with Lazar Wolf to celebrate the upcoming wedding and they have a toast (To Life (L'Chaim) ).
On the way home, Tevye is stopped by the local constable, who informs him that there is news that the Tzar is going to issue orders to make life difficult for Jews in the near future. Tzeitel and Motel nervously come to see Tevye and explain to him that they are in love, that Tzeitel does not want to marry a man her father's age regardless of how rich she will be and she will do anything if Tevye will allow her to marry Motel. Tevye dismisses them at first as madness, but when Motel stands up to him he realises that his daughter's happiness is the most important thing, and that they really do love one another. He allows them to marry; Motel and Tzeitel celebrate (Miracle Of Miracles). Perchik, meanwhile, is impressed with Hodel's wisdom and quick wit.
Tevye is now stuck with the problem of how to explain this to Golde. He tells her that he had a dream in which Grandmother Tzeitel visited him to tell him that Motel was the right choice, and Fruma-Sarah, the butcher's late first wife, appeared from beyond the grave to threaten to curse Tzeitel if she married Lazar Wolf (The Dream). Golde, deeply superstitious, agrees that Tzeitel must marry Motel immediately.
The ceremony takes place (Sunrise, Sunset), with Golde and Tevye reflecting on how quickly their children have grown up and Hodel and Perchik looking at one another and wondering if they might marry one another. This is followed by a joyous celebration (Wedding Dance) in which Perchik causes a scandal by crossing the line which divides the men from the women and taking Hodel to dance with him. Everyone looks to Tevye for his response, which is to follow suit and take Golde as a partner. The dancing is disturbed when the difficulties the constable warned of manifest themselves - some thugs invade the wedding and destroy the presents.
Act II begins with Motel and Tzeitel showing off their new arrival - a sewing machine! This will allow them to make and repair clothes much more quickly. They also have a child. Chava is an avid reader. On the way home from the bookshop one day she is stopped by a Russian boy, a Christian, who starts to talk about the book she is carrying. He offers to lend her a book of his own. Guilty and terrified, she accepts.
Hodel and Perchik have continued their sparring matches. He informs her that he is leaving to join a revolutionary movement; he asks her to marry him, and she accepts (Now I Have Everything). They go one step further and do not ask, but rather tell, Tevye that they are going to marry; he eventually accepts this, though he has no idea how he will explain it to Golde. Perchik leaves and promises to come back for Hodel.
Tevye tells Golde that there is a new world, where love is the most important factor in making decisions about marriage. He wonders what would have happened if they could have chosen (Do You Love Me?).
Perchik is arrested in Kiev, much to the scandal of the villagers, though the news is twisted and adapted each time it changes hands (The Rumour). Hodel decides that she must go to be with him, in a prison settlement in Siberia; it is a hard decision but she must make it, and Tevye supports her (Far From The Home I Love).
The constable tells Tevye that the Jews in the village will possibly be made to leave by Imperial decree.
Chava tells Tevye that she is in love with the Russian. He tries to convince himself to let her be free too, but cannot reconcile himself with the idea of his daughter marrying outside their faith (Chava Sequence). He tells her that she cannot marry him.
The next day, Golde comes to him and tells him that she has been to see the Christian priest - Chava and the Russian got married that morning. Tevye tells Golde coldly that they have only four daughters and will never speak of Chava again.
The Jews of the village pack up their things and prepare to leave; although the village was not much, it had been their home, and they mourn having to go (Anatevka). As the family pack up to go to America, Chava and the Russian appear. Tevye refuses to acknowledge them but Tzeitel cannot help herself and runs to embrace her sister. Chava informs them that, although she and the Russian would be able to stay in the village, they too are leaving because they cannot support what is being done to the Jews. Chava again tries to make peace with her father; he pretends not to notice her but just as she is about to leave, tells her that they are going to visit her uncle in America and that she can write to them there. The family leave, followed by the eponymous Fiddler, who serenades their exit.