By Stephanie Lewis
Therapist: Before we begin, I’d like to remind you that anything discussed here stays in strict confidence.
Golda: Do you hear that, Tevye? No sharing with the big guy upstairs.
Tevye: As the good book says, “He who allows God into every aspect of his marriage…”
Golda: Ugh, you can die from such a man.
Tevye: Golda, you’re hurting my feelings.
Golda: Why should today be different?
Tevye: Hey that’s my line. You stole my line. Straight outta the dinner scene before we sing The Sabbath Prayer.
Therapist: Hold up, folks. Why don’t we back up. Tevye, tell your wife how that makes you feel.
Tevye: Like you don’t care about me. Golda, do you love me?
Golda: Do I what?? Do I love him?
Therapist: Yes, Golda. But turn and face Tevye. Speak directly to your husband.
Golda: Do I love you? With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town. Maybe it’s indigestion. Go lie down.
Tevya: See that? That’s her typical M.O. Never answers my questions. If I had a dollar for every time she was evasive, I’d be a …
Therapist: Again with the Rich Man? Money is the world’s curse.
Golda: You tell him Anna. Or do you prefer Ms. Tevka?
Therapist: Anatevka is just fine.
Golda: Anatevka, underfed, overworked —
Therapist: Never mind that right now. I think we’re getting closer to identifying the real problem.
Golda: That’s right. For 25 years, I’ve lived with him, fought with him, starved with him. Even milked his cow! But I never dreamed we’d be in therapy right now.
Tevye: Precisely. You never dream. That’s your problem.
Golda: Oh my prophetic Joseph, you big fat Dreamer, you.
Therapist: We don’t name call in this room.
Golda: You think I haven’t figured out that’s how you get your own way? Embellishing Fruma Sara to be some larger-than-life scary bully. In reality, the butcher’s dead wife was only 4ft. 8.
Tevye: Golda, never forget that I’m the master of the house and I get to have the final word. And I want to see Motel’s sewing machine right now. And don’t give me your, “after supper, you’ll faint” shtick.
Therapist: Tsk, control issues. Perhaps it’s time to talk about equal divisions of power and labor. What do you do all day, Golda?
Golda: Ha! And who does mama teach to mend and tend and fix?? So Papa’s free to read the holy books!
Therapist: Wow, that didn’t even rhyme.
Tevye: Let’s just skip through the first act. The real disaster comes toward the end when our third daughter marries a gentile.
Golda: And now you won’t even speak to our little bird, our Chavala. She’s dead to you.
Tevye: If I try and bend that far, I’ll break.
Therapist: On the other hand . . .
Tevye: No! No! There is no other hand!
Therapist: Okay, okay. Clearly we’re at an impasse. And looking at the time, I think we must stop our session now.
Tevye: C’mon Golda, let’s go have a drink. I told you this psychobabble is for the birds. A bird could love a fish but where would they build a home?
Therapist: In a pet shop?
Tevye: Oy, it was rhetorical.
Receptionist: Anatevka, your next clients are here . . . a Fanny Brice and a Nicky Arnstein?
Therapist: Show them in. At least she’s a Funny Girl.