Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Dr. A. Mukdoni
(Alkasnador Kapel)


Born in 1878 in Lechovitz, Minsk Gubernia, White Russia. He received a traditional education, learning in a cheder and yeshiva, later devoting himself to a general education, and for a certain time was an extern. 1903 -- studied philosophy in Bern, and for a certain time also learned in Lausanne, Geneva and Paris. 1907-09 -- studied yus in Bern's university, where he received the title of "Doctor".

M. had his literary activity begun with a story in "Der yud", under the direction of Dr. Yosef Lurie, and with the skit "Shlsht habibim" in "Hatsfirah". 1906-08 -- often printed stories and skits in "Der veg", "Unzer leben", "Dos yudishe folk", "Dos vort", "Kunst un leben" et al.

M.'s first article about theatre (about L. Andreyev's drama "Tsu di shtern") was published in Warsaw's "Der veg".

1909 -- he settled in Warsaw as a chief contributor to Spektor's newspaper "Di naya velt", and her he began, under the pseudonym "Dr. A. Mukduni" his systematic activity as theatre critic, which he also directed later further in "Der fraynd".

Also later M., under the pseudonym "Kalif", wrote small feuilletons and provincial scenes, and in 1913 was co-editor of the "Lodzer morgenblat", at the same time also participating in various periodical Yiddish editions in Europe and America, where


he had among other things published the following theatrical works: "Gordin un di yidishe bine", and the collection book "Yudish", "Dr. Shlomo Etinger" in Niger's ""Der pnks", and a series of articles about the Hirshbein troupe in the early weekly page "Der shtrahl".

In the span of 1909-14, M. was active with practical theatre work: on his and A. Weiter's initiative, both worked for I. L. Peretz, Sholem Asch, Y. Dinezon, H. D. Nomberg, A. Reyzen, Sh. Rozenfeld, Dr. Gershon Levin and Noakh Rozenfeld, co-founded a commander(?) society for a good Yiddish theatre, but the World War had cut short the work for that group.

While the war had M. taking an active pat in aid work for those who escaped and the homeless, and all the befulmekhtikter of the central aid committee in Peterburg, he directed the work at the Volga and in Siberia.

IIn 1920 he left Russia and organized and edited in Kovno the daily newspaper "Neys". 1922 -- lived for a short time in Germany, and then he settled in America as a permanent contributor for New York's "Morning Journal", where he is the official theatre critic.

M. had, together with M. Elkin, edited the first three volumes of the monthly journal for theatre and literature ("Tealit", New York, November 1923 -- January 1924) and, together with Sh. Yudson, made preparations to issue a Yiddish theatre encyclopedia that was not achieved. At each time he also was one of the founders and directors of the Yiddish dramatic studio around the journal "Tealit", an active member in the "Yiddish Theatre Society" (which performed the task of founding in New York a pure, artistic Yiddish theatre), and a co-founder and chairman of the "Yiddish Theatre Museum".

Ater being in Poland, M. translated L. Tolstoy's drama "Der lebediker mt" [L. N. Tolstoy. The lebediker mt, a drama, translated by Dr. A. Mukdoni. Publisher "Literatur", Warsaw, 1912] (staged and performed by Jacob Ben-Ami across North and South America), and Osip Dymov's "Der eybiker vanderer", which in his anonymous translation was performed on 12 December 1913 in Thomashefsky's theatre in New York, wherein also, according to M.'s recommendation and mediation, was brought up  to the author, who since then has continued to be associated with Yiddish theatre.

At this time M. also translated "Kin" by Al. Dumas, which was however never published and never performed.

On 30 March 1927 in New York, M.'s fiftieth birthday was celebrated through a large theatrical production, and from the income there was issued a volume of collected critiques of M.'s: "Dr. Mukdoni. Theatre, New York, 1927" [88 pp., 16], and a book about the celebrant "Yubl-zamlbukh lkbud dem 50-yoriker geburtstog fun dr. a. mukdoni" [24 pp., 12], with articles and greetings, in which M. was celebrated as one of the prominent and influential Yiddish theatre critics.

In "Archive of the Yidish Theatre" (Volume 1, Vilna 1930, pp. 341-421), M. published a part of his theatre memoirs, under the name "Zikhronus fun a yidishn teater-kritiker" (Yiddish theatre in Poland from 1909 until 1915), which provoked a response from Peretz Hirshbein regarding the "Hirshbein Troupe".

1932 -- M. visited Europe and Eretz Yisroel, and then published articles about Hebrew theatre.

Sh. E. from Jacob Mestel.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. II, pp. 360-64.

  • M. Vanvild [Sh. L. Kave] -- Geboyrene plagiatoren, "Der moment", Warsaw, (14) 1, (16) 3, (17) 4, 8 (1) June 1912.

  • David Frishman -- "Ale verk fun dovid frishman", Warsaw, Vol. III, pp. 50-51, 68-72.

  • H. Shkliarski -- Der pioner fun der idisher teater kritik, "Frimorgn", Riga, 12 April 1927.

  • Jacob Mestel -- A. mukdoni -- der teater-kritiker, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 17, 1927.

  • L. Kesner -- A teater bukh fun dr. mukdoni, "Ydishe tagenblat", N. Y., 8 May 1927.

  • Sh. Niger -- Dr. a. mukdoni. Teater, "Tsukunft", N. Y., July, 1927.

  • "Yubl zamlbukh lkbud dem 50-yorign geburtstog fun dr. a. mukdoni, N. Y., 1927.

  • Yosef Mendelson -- Dr. mukdoni in bukh-farmet, "Yidishe tagblat", N. Y., 2, 16 August 1927.

  • Avraham Bley-Tspuri -- Teater-kritik un zkrun, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N' 42, 1927.

  • Hilel Rogoff -- Dray yubilarn, "Tsukunft", N. Y., June, 1927.

  • Z. Zylbercweig -- "Teater-zikhrunus", Vilna, 1928, p. 89.

  • Jacob Mestel -- Fir yidishe teater-bikher, "Archive", Vilna, 1930, pp. 493-95.

  • Z. Kornblith -- "Di dramatishe kunst", New York, pp. 151-53, 161, 213, 224.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Zikhrunus fun a yidishn teater-kritiker, "Archive", Vilna, 1930, pp. 341-421.

  • Peretz Hirshbein -- In kamf far a besern teater, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 43-47, 1930.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Tsvishn farhang un leyvnt, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 27 February 1931.

  • Z. Zylbercweig -- Ven a kritiker eylt zikh, "Chicago", Chicago, June 1931.

  • M. Weiner -- Di oysgabe fun etingers shriftn, "Bibliologisher zamlbukh", Soviet Union, 1930, pp. 135-140.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1284.

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