Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Meyer Mishurat

Born circa 1866 in Zvenigrodka, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine. Father -- a small merchant for a manufacturer. He learned in a religious elementary school (cheder), and until age eleven in a yeshiva, where -- secretly -- he received a little of the  Haskalah literature, and his pious father drove him out of the house.

Migrating over various town with no profession, he became acquainted with a Yiddish itinerant troupe, with whom he did various types of work. With the opportunity he was able to take part in the one-time specific activities of the Yiddish theatre manager, such as to cheat the authority and police officials, and became a expert in the field of expenditures or exploiting the permits to perform "Yiddish-German theatre" or just "German theatre."

In that span of time, he began to act in comical roles and also became the director of his own troupe, with whom he toured across the small cities and towns of Russia. After marrying the daughter of a water supervisor in Nikapol, he made her a prima donna and through this became the "boss" of his troupe, in which many Yiddish actors began their stage careers, who had afterwards important positions on the Yiddish stage.

In 1922 he passed away in Zvyenigrodka.

Israel Rosenberg had in New York's "Tog" (13 January -- 10 February 1917) printed a series of theatre curiosities of M.

David Reitz portrayed him so:

"A very good brother. Every day he used to bring in meat, bread, potatoes, and a flask of whiskey for the actors, at times a few boots and a suit, and even every week, the actors took a bath. He used to only travel to the small towns. actor never took any cash money (from him). He simply did not have [it], and also all thing he obtained were countermarks. By himself he was the director, cashier, actor, wardrobe person. His wife, the first actress, who by herself sewed the clothing, washed, cooked, baked, and once when he had sold tickets at the door on a small table, she stood on the stage as "Papoose" and "Dina", going on he wrote: "So, I am a so called beast of burden, that is to say, there are no men," despicable, he with one eye ("Papoose" is blind in one eye), that a Jew with a twenty-five kopek ticket sits in the first bank of the fifty kopeks, he would say: "R' Jew, for twenty-five kopeks, people are not allowed to sit there," the Jew begins and says: "I am wise to you and your game," answers Mishurat: "You will not get this place. You will have to go," and he said further in his prose: "One denies me at my human heart..."

M. Myodovnik recalls in his memoirs: ,...The cashier used to take all the nights, every Monday they used to make the weeks [salary?], and every week we used to feel guilty, because we never saw anything. ...Mishurat used to issue, besides the general contromarks, contromark for the butcher for meat, the baker for bread, with one word -- for every  production of life's necessities he used to give contromarks. ...Mishurat hadn't prepared anything for himself, that they already had to start, he used to run from the cashier's office and scream, "Wigmaker, klef me without a beard!" And so asit goes, he went out onto the stage."

M.E. from Misha Boodkin and Sh.E. from David Reitz.

  • Israel Rosenberg -- "Gospodin mishurat," "Der tog," N.Y, 13 Jan.-10 Feb. 1917.

  • M. Myodonik -- Mayne teater zikhroyns, "Der stern," Minsk Journal, N' 4, 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 1330.

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