Well, Tuesday night we went to the Orpheum in Memphis and saw Topol in the role of Tevye, and he and the whole cast were wonderful. His voice. I just can't describe the richness of it and the character in it.
But I left the show thinking mostly about Tradition. Several times in the play, Tevye, who's been raised in a world strongly tied to tradition, is faced with the choice of following blind tradition or promoting the happiness of someone he loves. He does his "on one hand . . . on the other hand" soliloquies, and each time decides that if there is no logical or biblical basis for the tradition, he will choose the person's happiness. But the last time in the play he is forced to make this choice, he must choose between his faith and his family. After much struggle, he chooses his faith. Yet it is not with haughtiness or superiority, but with so much pain that you can't be a witness to it and not hurt with him. And even then, he cannot refrain from pronouncing a blessing on this daughter as they part.
I couldn't help but think how much better off we'd all be if we had the spirit of Tevye.