He writes in his life story, sent to the "Lexicon of the
Yiddish Theatre," the history of Yiddish theatre in
Constantinople, Turkey, where he lived. He remembers
that when he was ten years old, there arrived in
Constantinople Professor Horowitz with a small group of
amateurs in the Galata region, in a cafe house that took
in about some one hundred to one hundred and twenty
people, without a stage, and without proper sets. They
performed "Don Yitskhok Abarbanel," and did some bad
business, such that Horowitz simply was hungry.
When K., was a
fifteen-year-old, there arrived in Constantinople,
Kalmen Juvelier with a troupe of some twelve persons (Juvelier,
Rauch, Friedman and wife, Lianski, Motl Goldring, Rosa
Friedman) and staged Goldfaden's "Bar kokhba," "Shulamis,"
"Di kishufmakherin," "Dos kaprize tekhterl,"
Sheikowitz's "Koketn-dame," "Don Itskhok Abarbanel," "Der
yudin in himel," et al. The troupe did very good
business. There K. was only an understudy. The troupe
played some seven weeks for four times a week, because
most of the time the Jews who were Sephardic did not
understand Yiddish very well. Four people remained from
the troupe, who took to performing as a quartet.
K. traveled to Romania,
where he stayed for four years and was called back to
Constantinople by his uncle for whom he became a
bookkeeper in his clothing business. In the meantime
there began in Constantinople a large immigration
of Romanian Jews. K. married a daughter of a Russian
Jew, who had a beautiful voice, and he spoke to her
about performing with him in "Di bobe mitn eynikl" by
Goldfaden for a charitable cause. The This chick (TSHIK)
takes a lot out [?]. Then (in the "Concordia" Theatre)
lead them on for a charitable cause.=, Goldfaden "the
capricious daughter," touching on the AFISHN
"direction--Leon Kornfeld), then "Koldunye" (with K. as
"Di bobe yakhne"), Shliferstein's "Dora," and Latayner's
"Dovids fidele (David's Violin)." K. began to neglect
the business and apply himself only to the theatre.
A Yiddish troupe came to
Paris under the supervision of Gelis (Gelis, wife and
daughter, Yosele Groper, Lerer et al), who played for a
month's time "Mishke and Moshke," "Dora," "Der
bel-tsuvah." K. got back from the theatre, opened a
tailor's shop, then returned to productions with the
amateurs, traveled with them on "Der yidisher poritz" by
Sheikowitz, in which he participated also with the
returning Rose Friedman (Goldfaden's "Frayndele kozak"),
and played with them for eight months in various plays.
Here from Romania came Aaron Rozenblum with a troupe of
some twenty-five people, including Shrage, Vaynstok and
his wife, a chorus of fourteen people). K. became a
partner with the direction. After playing for three
months Solomon Krause came came with a troupe of thirty
people (Krause, his wife Krause-Miller, Aaron Lebedeff,
Dranov, Boodkin and his wife). Besides operettas the
troupe, in a span of three months, also staged no plays.
For two years after Constantinople remained without a
Yiddish theatre. K. then got a proposal from Avraham
Fiszon to come with a troupe of sixty-five people, but
K. showed him that the troupe was too big, and again
Rozenblat came with his troupe, also among them his
uncle Jacob Silbert, who performed in "The Sacrifice of
Isaac." Meanwhile another troupe came, and both united.
After playing for three months K. was the
administrator,. Krause came gain with a troupe (with his
new wife Miriam Gurewitz), Lebedeff, the Boodkins and
others), who also did "Chasia the Orphan" and "Devorah'le
meyukheses" (with Kornfeld as "Samson Eyzenshtol").
After playing for three
months, K. began to travel with an Italian Liliput Opera
troupe which also came to Romania. He returned to
Constantinople, where K. performed with his amateurs the
play, "A shtrik oyfn haldz" (with the participation of
Friedman and his wife). Then Paul Beitman arrived with
Vera Kanievska, with a troupe. In 1914 Leopold Kaner
arrived with his wife and daughter, the Friedman
brothers from Romania, who did not perform in any plays.
Among them "Mirele efros" with Sarah Kaner in the title
role,, although the troupe was small, she made the best
business. [This is] because the audience was already
used to the Yiddish theatre, and because he had played
every night, and mostly because then there in
Constantinople there were many Ashkenazi Jews.
After the First World War
Breitman-Kanievska again came to Constantinople, and K.
brought form Vienna an operatic troupe. He wandered off
to America, where he settled in Providence.