Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Zuni Maud

Born around 1981 in Vashlikov, Grodno Gubernia, Polish Lithuania. His father was a sexton. He studied at a cheder, yeshiva and Talmud Torahs in Bialystok, Bielsk, Czestochowa and Warsaw.

In 1905 M. and his brother arrived at their uncle’s in America. Here he studied at night school, worked in cigarettes, worked as a 'servant' in a colonial shop and worked with ladies' vests.

When he was still in cheder and Talmud Torah, he used to illustrate the mishnayos [Jewish literature] which he was studying. During Purim he used to perform by heart “Purim shpiels" [Purim plays]. 

After arriving in America, he began to study in the painting school at Cooper Union in New York and at Baron Hirsch’s Weaving Art School and later at the “National Academy of Art”.

M. was one of the early staff cartoonists at the ”Kibitzer” magazine that was managed by “Der tunkler”  [Joseph Tunkel’s pen name meaning “the dark one”], then illustrated various books in Yiddish and published in the “Kundes”. 

Later M. teamed up with Yosl Cutler and designed the set and costumes for Maurice Schwartz’s production of Abraham Goldfaden’s  “Di kishefmacherin (The Sorceress/Witch)” ( 11 March 1924).


After creating puppets for the market scene in the above-mentioned play, Maud decided to launch a marionette theatre with Yosl Cutler, and named it "Modicut [Modjacot]" (for a short while in association with Jacob Turkow). They opened the theatre with Maud’s” King Ahaseurus” – music by Michael Gelbart and Moishe Rappaport on  December 17, 1925, Ahaseurus, a Purim play in two acts. Gedr.[?] in “Unzer book”, N.Y. 4, 5, 1928. 

On September 22, 1926 they performed M’s “The Dybbuk” - a parody with M. Gelbart’s music, and on March 4, 1928 they performed the “The Respectable Man”.

M. and Cutler also designed the costumes for Schwartz’s modern adaptation of Jacob Gordin’s “God, Man and Devil ( 21 December 1928).

In other programs of Modicut, M. acted and produced his own plays such as “The Magid” [The Itinerant Preacher?], “Shleyme mit der beheyme” (Shleyme with the Beast), “Tshing tang po”, a Chinese satire and an adaptation of Sholem Aleichem’s ” Rich Landlords”[?] and with Cutler “Before the Play and After the Play” (a political satire).

M. toured eastern and western Europe with Modicut.

M. E.

Melech Ravitch- The marionette artists Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 50 , 1929.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1221.

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