Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Joseph Brandesko


Born in 1883 in Nicolaev, Ukraine. At the age of ten he began to work in a printer's shop, where theatre posters were also printed. Thus he came into contact with theatre people. He barayndt zikh very strong with customers of Lazer Bernstein's troupe, and he went away with them in 1897, without the knowledge of his parents. He was with the troupe as a properties manager and actor for a salary of eight rubles per month, and after three months for twelve rubles, but with this he also had to paste posters.

A year later he found out that they needed a young actor for  Mishurat's troupe, and he performed with them in "Markes," and here he writes in his autobiography:

"For my first earnings I soon bought a palta, and a pair of boots, and soon became a leyt mit leysn gleykh. A coincidence: Our main artist and stage director (Yshele) Rotstein became ill. At night 'Bar kohba' came. I went ekspramt to play 'Papus' oyf zeyn ort. Rotshteyn further changed my mind: to play 'Ismail,' also successful. The director Mishurat takes me to him. He says to us all the happiness. I think to myself that I want to stay in one troupe. In short, I go the director (Avraham) Fiszon.

There I worked for a short time and went over to another troupe, but... Avrham Fiszon is, after all, 'his own man' with the police, and I am a deserter (B. had extended military service, and Fiszon gave him the name 'Brondesko'), earning him the story, I exchanged him for a second director, must be silent, bring me

'Poetapu' (under a week), and you put me in one 'Chad Gadya' (prison).

Under our creation was a short one: 'Gerikht un tpish, oder, shpil teater (Court and Imprisonment, or, To Play Theatre).' I chose the other way, because without playing any life I did not stand by Avraham Fiszon for eight years." [awk.]

B. then went back to be an actor and stage director in the troupe of Bernstein in Lublin, where he met with the actor Hershl Weissman, who was working for him in the troupe with Ester Rokhl Kaminska in Warsaw's "Jardin d'Hiver." According to the actor Feinstein, B. had there, with a very success, played lover roles.

In 1907, when the "United Troupe," with Ester Rokhl Kaminska at its head, traveled for the first time in the history of Yiddish theatre, openly to play Yiddish theatre in Peterburg. where B. was a member of the troupe. He played there in the role of "Danny" in "Mirele efros," "Shmuel Yosl" in "Di shkhithe," "Thalia" in "Der umbakanter," "Vladimir" in "Khasye di yesoyme," "Mishe" in "Di muter," and "Mark" in "Di emese kraft."

In his autobiography B., says what the famous theatre critic Kugel said about him in writing:

"Brandesko is an artist with a great emotional and passionate range. He does not accept only tragic roles, but also comic." Not looking for (the exceptional) success, the entire troupe still needed every production before night at the terminal, because there is no residence in the city itself, we didn't have one."

From 1908 until 1913 B. remained connected to Ester-Rokhl Kaminska's troupe. From 1913 until 1917 he had wandered off with a Yiddish theatre across cities and towns in the Ukraine.

The actor of Birobidzhan's Jewish State Theatre, Fridman, according to his memoirs, stated that in 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War, A Yiddish theatre troupe had in Genitshesk (Crimea), under the stage direction of B., was invited to join six productions of Ester-Rokhl Kaminska. When the actor-revolutionary B. created in Kremenchug a workers' studio, which existed with little surprise, three years. That worker-amateur-theatre that he also created in Baku, also at times in the years 1920-1922. In 1922 he put together a troupe for Moscow, and as B. detailed in his autobiography, there they several times visited the well-known stage director Meirchold (sp), and he very warmly responded to our work, and about me personal expressions like this: "Appearing yesterday in Yiddish theatre, 'Uriel Acosta,' the artist Brandesko, one finds that he is very temperamental an is very unique." In the years 1923-1924 B. played for a long time in Minsk, where at the same time he also performed in a club using the name Groser. Then he joined a Jewish state movable theatre from the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

According to Grisha Grosman, in 1924 B. went to Guzik, and until 1927 toured with the troupe with [beidens nemen] (including  acting for a season in Moscow, and a season in Leningrad), later founded a troupe together with Spektarov. In 1931 he participated in the state theatre "The Red Hammer" under the direction of Fridman.

His future fate is unknown.

Sh.E. and M.E. from David Reitz, Feinstein and Grisha Grosman.

  • N. Auslander -- "Yiddish Theatre," Moscow, 9140, pp. 310-312.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 4901.

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