Shtetl in Stratford

Just came in from seeing Donna Feore’s earthy, elegant and deeply felt production of FIddler at the Stratford Festival in Canada. This show’s power really doesn’t diminish over the years; nor does my amazement at that fact.

Alongside a generally strong company that creates a genuine sense of community, Scott Wentworth plays a tender Tevye. No bluster, hollering or shtick in his portrayal,   but a wry self-consciousness — very Sholem-Aleichem-like. His rejection of Chava tore me up because he tamped his emotion down and, in keeping with Tevye’s dialectical on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand tendencies, hugged her even as he cast her out.

What I loved especially was how well-acted the songs were: Tevye and Golde really wondering and then taking in the answer in “Do You Love Me?”; Perchik (the understudy, no less, one Gabriel Antonacci, maybe going on for the first time) tracing a full dramatic arc in the space of “Wonder of Wonders,” as the character’s emotion bursts through his super-rational veneer.

And, of course, there’s the unfading genius of Jerry Robbins’s Bottle Dance: