Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Efraim Loyter


Born in 1889 in Berdichev, Ukraine. Father -- a businessman. He learned in cheders, with a private teacher, and in a Vilna gymnasium. After the gymnasium years, he participated in the work for the prominent Yiddish dramatic circles.

1909-12 -- wrote reviews in the Vilna Yiddish newspaper under the pseudonym A. Yasni, A. Bader et al. In the collection book "Knospen" (Vilna 1911) his story, "Di likht iz oysgegangen", was published.

1912 -- participated in a committee to found a Yiddish artistic theatre (Peretz, Asch et al.)

During his military service, he participated in the work around soldier's and officer's theatre, and after the October Revolution, he again became active in the field of Yiddish theatre.

1917-18 -- was one of the leaders of the first Yiddish studio of the Moscow Jewish Literary Artistic Society, under the name of I. L. Peretz.

1918  -- read a cycle of lectures in the Yiddish section of the Odessa Folks University about the history of Yiddish theatre.

From 8 April 1919 until 1 June 1924 -- one of the leaders, teachers and regisseurs of the theatre studio "Kultur-lige (Culture League)", where he directed B. Shteyman's "Moshiakh und Yosef", while at

the same time he worked as a manager of the Yiddish under-section of the historical-theoretical section of the All-Ukrainian theatre committee (1919), and as the main regisseur of the first Jewish state theatre (Kiev) in 1920-21.

1921-22 -- studied in the four-course "Melukhishn hekhstn rezhisorishn varshtat (State high regisseur workshop)" (Moscow), under the leadership of V. Meyerhold, and at the same time also in the studio "Kultur-lige (Culture League)" in class, under the leadership of Y. B. Vakhtangov, also took special courses with the prominent Moscow theatre specialists.

1924 -- main regisseur for Bake (Baku?)'s worker's theatre, where he directed in Russian "Di untertsinder" by Lunatsharsky, "The Marriage of Figaro", "Year 1881", "Maria Teodor" by Victor Hugo, "Der yom tov fun heylikhn morgn", and with the Baku Yiddish Studio Aksenfeld Studio's "Di genarte velt".

1925-28 -- artistic leader and main regisseur of the "State Jewish Theatre in the Ukraine" (Kharkov), which he founded. In the span of his activity in the theatre, L. put on:

  • 6 December 1925 -- "Purim-shpiel", a Yiddish mess (balagan) in three acts, adaptation from the texts, montage, intermedyes and director Efraim Loyter".

  • In the 1925-26 season -- "In bren, a revolutionary chronicle in four acts and ten scenes by B. Meyerowitz (Daniel) and Efraim Loyter. Director Efraim Loyter".

  • In the same season -- "Shabsi tsvi, a tragedy by a deceived people (opgenart folk) in four acts, scenic manager -- Efraim Loyter [taken from Jerzy Zhulavsky's and Sholem Asch's plays "Shabsi tsvi" and Jacob Wasserman's "Di tsirendorfer yidn"], Director -- V. M. Smishlayev and (farendikt) Efraim Loyter".

  • In the same season -- "Di tsvey kuni lemelekh (The Two Kuni Lemels), a folks form in eight episode, lit-montage and director -- Efraim Loyter [mounted by Goldfaden's "Di tsvey kuni lemel" and "Kbtsnzon un hungerman" with a new hero "Motl"].

  • In October 1926 -- staged "Koymenkerer" by N. Fidl and Y. Feffer [a new variation of Jacob Gordin's "Chasia the Orphan"].

  • In the 1926-27 season -- staged "Zambuk" by Anat. Glyebov.

  • In the 1927-28 season --  staged Fininberg's "Yungen".

About the play, Y. Lyubomirski writes: "The spectacle, "Beli tubus" has received a negative evaluation (together with a spectacle "Der koymenkerer"), and has much exacerbated the question about the subsequent production of the Kharkov State Jewish theatre. It removed from the repertoire spectacle "Beli tubis" several days later . This spectacle performed a decisive role regarding the subsequent remaining of Ef. Loyter at the Kharkov State Jewish Theatre."

At the second Yiddish cultural conference in May 1928, L. received a negative evaluation for his activity as an artistic director of the theatre, and he had therefore resigned.

1928-29 -- staged in Russia's "Moscow Theatre Improvisation", "Di velfishe griber", according to the settings of Sergey Garodetsky and -- in the order of "Sovkino" -- written (together with A. Kreyn) a scenario of the mother of an anti-Semite, under the name "Fargedenkt zeyere primer". L. had to each time also write a Russian play, "A komunars an eynikl", according to the story by A. Drozdov, who has since then has performed in the youth theatres of the Soviet Union.

In May 1929, with the nontster collaboration of L., there was founded the studio of the Moscow State Jewish Theatre, which was reorganized as a state Jewish theatrical tekhnikum for the Moscow Jewish State Theatre, with whom L. directed, together with the fardinstfuln artist S. M. Mikhoels.

In the technicum, L. led a course of scenic arts and directed several works with the students of the more advanced course.

1929-October 1931, L. also directed with the Moscow Yiddish "Trom" (theatre of young workers), where he staged a play in four acts, "Tsu hunderter fabrikn" by Y. Ravin and Efraim Loyter, as well as several small things.

L. also wrote the plays, "Stempenyu", according to Sholem Aleichem (1919), "Menakhem Mendl (1920)", and a series of dramatizations of I. L. Peretz ("Berl shneyder-ovntn").

Sh. E.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. II, pp. 93-94.

  • Y. Lyubomirsky -- "Melukhisher yidisher teatr in ukraine", Kharkov, 1931.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1017.

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