Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leon Berger

He was from the first prompters of Goldfaden and as such he reported to Goldfaden, who traveled with the troupe, B. remaining in Odessa. Itzhak Libresko came in 1880 to Odessa [nokh] plays for the Gradner-Horowitz troupe in Iasi, and he made a connection with Berger, who had written several plays "Gedenkt er oyfn kop". But at the last moment he decided that Libresko and Berger should put together their own troupe, and they traveled to Brody, where they searched for the old Broder Singer Khayim Shmuel Lukatsher and also several young singers, and under the name of "Rumenish-yidish teater under the direction of  Izak Libresko and Leon Berger", they staged six of Goldfaden's plays, and as such they stayed in the repertoire, taking the troupe in January 1881 across to Berlin and under the firm "German-Yiddish" they acted in a variety of Goldfaden's "Recruits". But soon anti-Semitic students created a scandal in the theatre for their second production, and the play had to be transferred.

B. returned to Odessa and when Yiddish theatre in Russia was forbidden, B. became the guide for the Zuckerman, Spivakovski, Shoengold, Sarah Goldstein-Karp, Joseph Goldschmidt, Weinstock, Saul Wallerstein troupes and the Koyfman's with whom he traveled as the director and prompter to Kenigsberg in Meyer's Local, where the troupe acted with a great success for two months. Through a theatrical agent the troupe performed for two weeks in Danzig and traveled to Berlin, where it came with great hardships, (due to the first scandal), to act in the theatre in Kvarks-platz. Here the troupe performed for eight months under the pseudonym "Di yidish-orientalishe troupe".

The theatre had done very good business, but due to Berger's changing the name of the troupe to "Orientalish", announcing the Yiddish actors as Turkish and Romanian, and due to the breaking of the contract with Berlin and their acting in Hamburg, it became a public scandal, such that the troupe had to gnbet itself back into the Yiddish quartal under its earlier name, and after two months of acting they returned to Berlin, where they acted with maternish for four months and then disbanded.

  • B. Gorin --"History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, pp. 238-240.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Hintern forhang", Vilna, 1928, pp. 109-116.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1,  page 200.

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