....And then there is Miss
Gersten--Berta Gersten--the leading lady, an interesting and
attractive-looking young woman.
Miss Gersten does a very
"heavy" part in a play by Peretz Hirshbein called "The
Golden Chain," which is being played at the Irving Place
Theater. She portrays so much intense emotion that a natural
query would be as to how much of herself she puts into every
"Every bit of me," she
answered. "It is something I can't remedy. Many actors have
told me that they can simulate any sort of emotion when they
are acting. But I have always had to put my whole soul and
life into my part. When I shudder or cry on the stage, it is
because I am really living the part I am portraying.
"How do I prepare for a part?
I always attend the reading of a play, and then and there
form a mental picture of my character. I take her home with
me and live her life in my imagination, as I can see it up
to the time of the play. I go over every phase of her life
that could have developed her into the woman she is--and
then I learn my lines. That is the simplest part of
preparing a character, because that is only memory work. I
do have to worry about the interpretation and the
expression. They come naturally when you are familiar with
the life of the person you are trying to be.
"I see a great future for the
Yiddish stage, and I believe it will not be very long before
we have our John and Ethel Barrymores. The young people of
the Yiddish acting profession have brought with their
histrionic ability an idealism that cannot help but raise
the standards of the Yiddish theater, and I find that they
are working together very harmoniously to carry on the work
started by Mr. [Maurice] Schwartz and the Jewish Art
"Wasn't it Oliver Wendell
Holmes who said, 'It is not so much where we stand, but the
direction in which we are going that counts'?"