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All identifications are made left to right. Back row, standing: Lazar Freed, Celia Adler, Morris Silberkasten, Anatol Winogradoff?, Izidor Casher, unk, Morris Strassberg, unk. Seated on bench: unk, Maurice Schwartz, unk, unk. Seated on ground: Unk, unk, Berta Gerstin, unk.

From Martin Boris' unpublished biography of Schwartz entitled, "Once a Kingdom":

The Art Theatre spent most of the summer in London, at His Majesty’s Theatre in Haymarket, where the best English plays from Shakespeare to Noel Coward were presented. At first, their reception was invigorating, the British mainstream critics very favorably impressed with Yoshe Kalb—not as great literature, but as spectacle (as were their American counterparts). One English reviewer described it as “a magnificent piece for the theatre [. . .] brilliantly expressive.” He reported that “the demand for curtain calls even drowned out the playing of the national anthem afterward” (Times 31 July 1935).

When in London, do as the Londoners. Since its better drama critics would attend premieres and spend an inordinate amount of the intermission at the playhouse bar, so did Schwartz. He was no tippler, but he did so want to win over the press, all in the service of his Art Theatre. Whether the hail-fellow-well-met routine paid dividends, Maurice would never know for sure, except he did receive universal raves from the staid London Times, and the trendier Daily Examiner and Daily Herald.

With the arrival of fall, interest in Yiddish Theatre slowly petered out in London. Maurice blamed the unexpected slack on the assimilation of London Jews into the general society. Perhaps a tour of the English hinterlands might reverse the Art Theatre’s fortunes, just as a summer tour in America had always been good medicine for the spirit and the bank account. Relkin booked them into Leeds and Manchester, where they bombed badly. “Both cities have synagogues, cantors and rabbis. Their Jews observe tradition by preparing gefilte fish for the Sabbath. They collect charity for Palestine—not too much, but every little bit helps. However, Yiddish Theatre for them was an alien concept” (Schwartz 22 Aug. 1945).





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