In 1901 he directed in Kiev
in Goldfaden's "The Sacrifice of Isaac," in such a rich,
theatrical manner, that in this one instance he elevated
the fallen prestige of this Yiddish theatre.
During that time A. also led
a thorough reform regarding the fees of the Yiddish
theatre. Until then there existed in Russia the
so-called markn- (border) troupes, a system that
gave the agent of the troupe an easy opportunity to
exploit the actors. A. was the first to engage a troupe
on a particular hire.
In 1903 A. guest-starred for
a year's time with Moshe Schorr in the Galician
province, where he directed the newly brought repertoire
("Isha ra'ah," "Ezra, the Eternal Jew," "Kol Nidre," "Kurkh's
Treasures"), and went from there again out to Russia. In
1905 A. partnered with Spivakovski in the direction over
a Yiddish troupe in Odessa, and there was a contract
signed between them and Sholem Aleichem, that their
theatre should become transformed into a "Yiddish
literary art theatre," that would stage the dramatic
works of Sholem Aleichem and plays from other authors
over whom Sholem Aleichem had control and determined
that they were worthy to perform. The plan was not
achieved because the competitors had ... the power, that
the newly planned theatre was considered a revolutionary
trend, and the government profoundly stifled the
In 1905, together with
Vaysfeld at the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw, then played for
the first time with Meerson Schiller's "Robbers" in
In 1907 A. had a great
theatrical success with his staging of Goldfaden's "Lakhmud"
in Kiev, and in 1909 he transformed in Yekaterinoslav
his revived staging of "Shulamis" in an immense
spectacle, directing on the stage, in the scene of
eulh-degel-zayn, until a hundred sympathies(?),
raising in that city the prestige of Yiddish theatre,
which was very fallen there due to the management of
previous Yiddish theatre directors.
In terms of solidness and
principles, the company of "Sam Adler from America" was
the reliable and fartroyungsvertste. There had
not been any city in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in
Russia, wherein it did not reach his permanent
well-organized operetta-and-drama troupe. It also was
for a long time the only one in Russia, which had access
to plays mkhuts ltkhum -- in Petersburg and
Kiev-- where A., from all strata of the local Jewish
population they were very warmly received.
Actors considered it an
honor to be engaged in the troupe of Sam Adler, and for
the young actors the acting by the troupe was at a high
level. A. was the first to arouse to the Yiddish stage
the intelligent forces, and they were encouraged about
Yiddish theatre. Among his students one finds: Jacob
Ben-Ami, Lazar Freed, Esther Neroslavska, Samuel
Goldinburg, Wolf Zylbercweig, Greenspan, Avraham
Teitelbaum et al.
A. always gave [his]
attention, that the member of his troupe should perform
in each city, tactfully and responsibly, and keep up
their social standing, but even more straightforward was
his stage discipline. The rehearsals and the productions
were conducted most forcefully. The following were not
allowed: not coming prepared, not being punctual, dirty
language, vulgarity, and innuendos had always been put
aside. The language and the
acting--even from the cheap plays--had to be clean.
Sh. also put aside the
business side of Yiddish theatre on festere isudut,
leading tours according to an previously determined
plan, and even at the government office [gained] that
respect, that they are not confused when he changed the
company of his troupe from "German troupe" to
By himself the comic of the
troupe, A. never allowed cheap exaggerations, and had
not sooner played a role as ibergeshpilt.
A. had been known to write a little Yiddish, or Yiddish
with Latin characters, but A. possessed a native
intelligence, always wanting things nice and beautiful
on the stage.
In the last pre-war years,
A. lost a lot of money in his undertakings, his
undertaking spirit becoming weak. He no longer appeared
to organize troupes in the same way as before. His most
important actions were to travel across the world; A.
used to move around across small cities with small
troupes, which however were not in his heart, and by
playing with these troupes A. began to lose his former
When A. returned to America,
through the influence of Ben-Ami, he joined Schnitzer's
Garden Theatre, where he worked with in small, ascending
The Yiddish [Hebrew] Actors'
Union helped him materially, but due to his inherently
quiet character, he pulled himself back into the
shadows, until in 1922 when he returned to Europe,
played in Kovno, suddenly became hoarse, performing in
December 1922 in Lodz in Kobrin's "The Power of the
Dollar" ("Karl Marx," or, "The Enemies"), but he had to,
according to the information from the doctors,
immediately traveled to Vienna to be operated on.
Here he still had the
opportunity to participate in a small role in the
film, "Yizkor," played with Schwartz's troupe, and also
had several small roles in film with the same film
A. lived in Vienna single
and lived in a small room on a faraway street, somewhere
behind "Prater Shtern." Nit-torndik to speak, he
used to spend the entire day sitting in a coffee house
stiff and cold as a statue, often confused and burnt
which he had received from his students in America, were
swallowed up in caves [heyl-mitlen]. In the
summer of 1925, when his health condition was getting
worse, and he simply hungered, he finally allowed a
public discussion in the press about his condition.
However the discussion brought only petty results.
For the death throes he
received a shipyard to America, wherein he had, however,
not wanted to travel to as an invalid, and so on 26
November 1925 he passed away in Vienna. The Viennese
Jewish cultural community had for that reason given free
of charge a burial plot and linens.
M.E. from Moshe
Schorr and Lazar Freed.
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. II, pp. 60, 142, 192.
Dos "sholem aleichems
bukh," New York, 1926, p. 64.
Avraham Teitelbaum --
Teatralishkeyt bay goldfadenen, "Goldfaden-bukh,"
New York, 1926, pp. 17-8.
--"Teatralia," Warsaw, 1929, pp. 24-33.
Michael Weichert --
"Theatre and Drama," Vilna, 1926, Vol. I, p. 59.
Noah Prilutski --
"Yiddish Theatre," Bialystok, 1921, Vol. I, p. 39.
Sh. Y. Dorfszon --
Necrology, "Morning Journal," New York, 25 Dec.
Sh. Y. Dorfszon -- In
khl'she tchrichim, "Moment," Warsaw, 8 Dec. 1925.
Avraham Teitelbaum --
Der suf fun a yidishen teater-direktor, "tog," New
York, 15 Jan. 1926.
Dos teater oyf
krulevska -- "Theatre Times," Warsaw, 5, 1928.
E. Tenenholtz -- The
Yiddish Theatre in Siberia, "Di varhayt," 7 January
M. Miodovnik -- My
Theatre Memories," "Shtern," Minsk, 4, 1926, p. 36.