|"The Big Winner
(Der Grosse Gevintze)"
Great Artists Series, Maurice Schwartz and the Yiddish Art Theatre,
A play is generally
composed of many scenes, and each scene is composed of one or more
actors playing the roles for which they had been chosen. Each actor
must say their lines with conviction; every line they speak and
every movement they make are what makes their character believable to the
Let's pretend that you are the director of the
Yiddish play shown above. A director is the person responsible for
overseeing and putting together a theatre production. Those who will
be performing the roles in the play are under your direction, so you
yourself as the director must have a good idea of what the play is about,
and how you
would like the actors to fulfill their roles.
Ask yourself the
following questions. Of course you must use your imagination to
answer these questions, but this is the objective of this exercise.
There is no right or wrong answer, so have at it! Here we go:
scene, what kind
of work is each person doing, and how do you know this?
this a business, and if it is, what kind of business might it be?
to be the main character in this scene and why? What might his occupation
Look at the facial expressions of each character. What do you think each
of them is thinking?
you think each of them is happy or sad? Do you they are rich or
you think this theatre production is a comedy or a drama and why?
items or props can you identify in this scene? What are they?
or who do you think the play title "The Big Winner" refers to?
What do you think is
the plot of the play?
Write a few paragraphs or so about what you think the play is about.
Assign names to the five characters shown above.
Describe who they are and how they are related to each other. Do you
think one of these people won something? If so, what?
If so, how did this winning affect each of the characters of the
play? What do you think the outcome was?
What do you think the moral of the story is?
"The Big Winner"
gevintze" in Yiddish)
by Sholem Aleichem
Premiered at the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York in 1922.
Courtesy of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts/Billy
Rose Theatre Division.