Tag Archives: Anatevka

Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Perchik

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Revolutions are usually not started by the elder generation who are sometimes content to rest on their laurels and let life go on. Revolutions are usually started by young people who are idealistic, angry and willing to use their voice to fight against what they feel is an injustice. These young people are also the ones who are trying to shake the dust of off their elders and show them that the world is changing.

In Fiddler On The Roof, the idea of revolution is represented by the character of Perchik. Perchik is a young man who has come to Anatevka to shake the denizens out of their doldrums. Idealistic, modern and outspoken, Perchik does not exactly get along with his new neighbors, but Tevye is willing to give Perchik a chance. Perchik starts tutoring Tevye’s youngest daughters and starts on a Beatrice and Benedick relationship with Hodel, Tevye’s second eldest daughter.

Eventually Perchik gets up the courage to propose to Hodel, even though is not the most conventional of proposals. But before they can wed, Perchik is caught up in trouble and is sent to Siberia.

To sum it up: one way to see change in a character or a narrative is to introduce the idea of revolution, whether it is social, cultural or financial. The writers wisely used Perchik to represent the wider revolution that would engulf the world in Fiddler On The Roof as a whole. For a writer, it is more about how he or she uses change rather than just the act of the change itself. The change will happen, it is just a matter of how the writer enacts the change that affects the outcome of the whole story, not just the character who represents the change.

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Hodel

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is only one certainty in life: change. In Fiddler On The Roof, Hodel is the second of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. In the beginning of the story, Hodel states her choice of her future husband: the Rabbi’s son. Her elder sister, Tzeitel is quick to burst her bubble. Their father is a dairyman.  Daughters of dairymen do not marry Rabbi’s sons. Being the smart ass that she, Hodel laughs it off.

Then Perchik enters the picture. Perchik is a young man traveling through Anatevka who has ideas that do not mesh well with the locals. While tutoring Hodel’s younger sisters, it becomes clear that there is chemistry between her and Perchik. But when the time comes, Hodel will have to make a decision: stay with her family or follow Perchik into the unknown.

To sum it up: In choosing to join Perchik in Siberia instead of staying in Anatevka, Hodel is willing to accept change. Even if it means that she may never see her family again. Change often comes whether we like it or not. As writers, when we create a character who is faced with change, how the character deals with the change is a mark of their character. It’s up to the writer to determine if the character will accept the change or fight it.

 

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Reasons To See Fiddler On The Roof (If You Have Not Seen It Already)

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Fiddler On The Roof for the second time.

Based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem, Fiddler On The Roof is the tale of Tevye (played in the current production by Danny Burstein), his family, his world and how both are changing.

Here are my reasons to see Fiddler On The Roof, if you have not seen it already.

  1. You don’t have to be Jewish to get the story. Tevye is a husband and father just trying to get by and do right by his family. We can all relate to that.
  2. It is the story of clinging to traditions in the face of adversity and change. In our increasing secular and technology driven world, it becomes harder to keep to the traditions of our family and our culture.
  3. There is a strong element of feminism running through Fiddler. Tevye has no sons and five daughters. In that community and that time, young people did not marry for love. They married because the town matchmaker chose their spouse and the father agreed to the match. His three eldest daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava choose their own husbands. If feminism is defined as a woman choosing to live life on her terms and if her only choice is marriage, then choosing of one’s spouse based on affection and mutual interests (as opposed to social status or income) is a feminist act.
  4. This is the story of refugees. At the end of the musical, the Jewish citizens of Anatevka are forced out of their homes and out of the shtetl they have called home for generations. The addition of the red parka worn by Burstein at the beginning and the end of the piece highlight how relevant this story still is. Nearly every day, we open the newspaper or turn on the evening news and hear about stories of refugees leaving heir homes due to persecution or war.
  5. Fiddler On The Roof is the penultimate act for a world that ceased to exist 70 years ago. A generation after Fiddler ends, communities like Anatevka will be decimated and her Jews slaughtered by the Nazis.
  6. Chava’s marriage to Fyedka. In some parts of the world, a mixed marriage is still considered controversial.
  7. For audience members who, like myself who are Jewish and can trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe, it is a snapshot of the world our ancestors knew.
  8. Sunrise, Sunset. There is no more universal song from Fiddler than Sunrise, Sunset. When we are parents, as much as we want to do for our children, we have to recognize that they must grow up and live life on their own terms.

This production is wonderful. I highly recommend it and I also recommend that anyone interested in seeing Fiddler On The Roof should get tickets immediately as the show closes on Dec 31.

Fiddler On The Roof is at The Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, NY NY 10019. 

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You Might Be A Fiddler On The Roof Fan If…

I had the  incredible pleasure of seeing the new revival Of Fiddler On The Roof back in January. It is one of the freshest, most entertaining Broadway shows I have seen in a very long time.

With that being said, you might be a Fiddler On The Roof fan if…

  • You don’t have to be Jewish or have familial roots in Eastern Europe to recognize the human relationships or the human stories enfolding on stage.
  • If you had any control over the Tony Awards in June, you would automatically give Danny Burnstein the award for Best Actor in a musical.
  • You recognize the contemporary nature of the narrative, especially with the current refugee crisis in Syria.
  • If you have a sister or a brother, you understand the relationship between Tevye’s daughters.
  • You have purchased the soundtrack, which has instantly wormed itself into your brain and has not left.
  • You are sad that the last episode of Motel Citizen premiered tonight.

  • If you are Jewish and your ancestors have come from Eastern Europe, you are bursting with nachas (pride) that the revival is a success.
  • You have seen this revival at least once (or twice) and would eagerly go again.
  • As a woman, looking back at the lives of Golde, her daughters and the women of Anatevka, you appreciate that what you can accomplish goes beyond the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood.
  • Even though you may know the story inside out, you are wishing that for once, the story would have ended differently.
  • Knowing the history of 20th century Europe, you wince at Tzeitel and Motel moving to Warsaw and you hope that if a sequel to Fiddler existed, that they would have left Europe before World War II.
  • And finally, you adore this musical.

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