Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Michael Goldberg


G. was born in 1865 in Strzhizhov, Galicia, to religious parents. Due to school [tsvang] he "had to" go to school, where he learned Polish and German. After completing four classes, he left to enter into a gymnasium, but due to the religiosity and economic conditions at home, he couldn't settle into his education, and he learned Hebrew, Polish and German privately, until the government gave him a license to open a private school.

The first drama he read was "Uriel hkhushi", the Hebrew adaptation of Shakespeare's "Othello". Since then he read many Polish and German plays, especially also in secret Polish theatre productions by actors who were passing through, and when in 1892 G. came to America and saw Yiddish theatre for the first time, that his countrymen succeeded, that he could somehow write for the Yiddish stage, but he didn't feel forced to write something original, and he translated Friedrich Keyzer's two-acter, which he brought to Adler. The play wasn't staged, because it didn't have five acts, but Adler got him a free pass so he could often attend his theatre. This made him enter into the actors' circles, so that Thomashefsky got him to translate Hauptmann's "Farzunkener glok", Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin", and Shakespeare's "King Lear", "Othello", "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet", and Adler -- Richard Foss' play "Shuldik".


Each time he established the Yiddish vaudeville troupes, and in the span of several years N. wrote for one hundred and fifty one-acters, from which but a part were original -- most of them were taken from the Polish, German and English [pride=qveln].

Later he took to writing plays in strange themes:  "Mish mash" and "A veyb oyf optsutsoln", comedies in four acts, which were staged by Schwartz; the comedy "Zi batsolt" -- J. Kessler in Chicago; the comedy "Chaim cheykel der shadkhan" by Blank at the National Theatre.

Then there were staged G.'s "Sadie Flam", "Di libe fun a kabaret-meydl" and the musical comedy "Der bobe irushah" and "Moshe der griner" (music by Rumshinsky).

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 267.

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