Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fiddler on the Roof

Day 345 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and I'm pretty sure it was Nancy who was reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, but 1) I could be wrong and 2) I know more than one Nancy so 3) will the real reader weigh in and tell us why? 4) even if you are not named Nancy?

This is a family memoir, a story about art, and the story of anti-Semitism in 1930s Vienna and beyond.  It tells what happened to a collection of netsuke, or tiny porcelain toggles used to attach pouches to traditional Japanese clothing that had no pockets.

This morning I consider the past in light of Fiddler on the Roof, the original film version, which I watched again last night for the first time in many years.  Beautiful, funny, heartbreaking film. Wikipedia alerts me that some songs were left out of a "re-release" of the film, but, while I do sometimes fall asleep during home viewings (and while I did), I do remember hearing both "Far From the Home I Love" and "Anatevka."  I did not hear "Now I Have Everything," though, because it really was cut from the film.

Grew up on the Broadway cast album and just loved "Miracle of Miracles," sung by the tailor Motel Kamzoil, played by Austin Pendleton, an actor I love (and got to meet once, when he directed me in a play!!).

Wikipedia tells me that the title Fiddler on the Roof comes from Marc Chagall's painting, The Fiddler.  And I already knew the play was based on stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye the milkman.

Now it is snowing, I forgot to eat breakfast, and off I go.

Please look at Joe Wilkins's poems in Escape Into Life today! Brace yourself.  He's a "killer on the bridge."


Maureen said...

A wow for Joe Wilkins' poetry.

Nancy Devine said...

omg!! Joe Wilkins' "Shooting Carp" takes my breath away. wow!

Kathleen said...

It's wonderful. Yes!

Collagemama said...

I am the Nancy who enjoyed "The Hare with Amber Eyes". Netsuke can be carved out of a variety of materials. They fit wonderfully with the small stones attention to detail. I read a review of the book, and was intrigued by the concept of a family memoir told through the history of a collection. The objects my family collected, cherished, passed down through shared aesthetics or just due to a sense of obligation are a big part of my life right now. Now I might have to watch "Fiddler On the Roof"...

Anonymous said...

The 'Land to the North' whispers to me: There and back again. From life to death, and back again (even if just for a visit, for the sake of love and memory).

I've seen 'Fiddler on the Roof' more than a few times - twice with Zero Mostel on stage, on tour, once in a very good high school production, and the movie several times (in a couple versions - with and without 'Now I Have Everything'). Found it touching each time, but the most poignant thing about it for me was when my wife told me about when she went as a child to see it on Broadway with her grandmother, who had fled Russia at the time of the first Russian Revolution (in 1905, when the story is set), and who cried when they sang 'Anatevka' - remembering all the familiar faces she hadn't seen in 60 years. (The one exception being the young man she ran away with at the time, my wife's grandfather, who had been drafted to go fight the Japanese in Siberia, and who decided it was a good time to go to America and get married instead.)

I was about to begin 'The Rape of Europa,' by Lynn H. Nicholas, but I have been sorely tempted to read 'The Hare with Amber Eyes,' first. The review by Veronica Horwell in The Guardian makes De Waal's work a real contender for first place.


Kathleen said...

I thought it was you, Collagemama! But I couldn't find it in your blog. Maybe it was a comment in my blog! Likewise, Bob, I may forget how I know you might read The Rape of Europa soon!