Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Riva Rupina


Born in 1904 into a semi-Orthodox family of five daughters and one son. Her father used to be asked: "What are you going to do with so many daughters??, to which he used to reply, "One will be a milliner, the other a mashinistke, and the third an artist".

R. received her education in a Yiddish school Demyevke in Kiev. She participated in a children's production (in Russian) of school life, "Ivanov Pavel", under the direction of Yehoshua Lyubomirski, then in Yiddish in I. L. Peretz's "Der arendar", where she acted with a beard, the arendar. In 1915 she joined the Kiev musical studio with the name of Lisyenko, where she studied piano and participated at the same time in the student dramatic circle, then in the Kiev theatre studio "Onheyb", where together with her studies, she also did practical work: such as "Rivkale" in "God of Vengeance", in Peretz's "Mkublim", "Berl Shneyder", "Di goldene keyt" and Andreyev's "Har Hunger", under the regisseurs and pedagogues Semdor, Smirgov, Iskander and Efrayim Loyter. After the studio she entered into the Kiev Jewish theatre "Kunst-vinkl", where she acted with Rudolf Zaslavsky and collectives. In 1929 she went over to the Kharkov Jewish State Theatre "Gezkult" (which had her forms and name), which was the first Yiddish agitprop, which had build their programs with the materials of the Soviet writers and actual themes. A bateytnd ort had in the first program taken the theatrical folfanishe declamations dedicated to the Red Army. The theatre had a great success, not only across

 the cities and towns, but also in the clubs of the Russian Army and in various forms of Soviet business due to the easier form, and thanks to the direction of the Moscow regisseur N. M. Fordeger. The texts came from Peretz Markish, Itsik Feffer, Leyb Kvitko, Yosef Kotliar, Feyvl Sito, M. Pintshevsky, Abraham Cahan and D. Krishtol.

At the end of 1932 the theatre was sent to Birobidzshan, where she acquired the great onzen and participated from the teyge until the Far East. (Khavarovsk, Vladyvostok), where she served the various nationalities. After six months, she returned with the troupe to Kharkov.

Until 1935, the "Gezkult" was a theatre of small forms. At the end of 1935 it changed to spectacles of comedy and satire, and R. participated in Shkvarkin's "Dos fremde kind", where she acted in the mian role, "Khantshe di shadkante" in Oksenfeld's "Recruits", adapted from Sito and Krishtol, "Marta" in Maline's comedy "Di frume marta", "Basha" in Goldfaden's "Kishuf makherin", and in the demand(?) of the regisseur Kramov, she then acted i the main roles of the "Kishuf makherin" ("Bobe yakhne"), because, according to a pure opinion, "Komikeven", the men when the acted in the roles and did not come out any in any correct form. The Soviet press called her acting in that role very good.

R. also performed in an entire range of Sholem Aleichem plays, in Gordin, Hirshbein, Pinski and Asch repertoire, also in a man's role (with a beard in Gershenson's "Hershele Ostropolier").

With the outbreak of the Nazi war against the Soviet Union, R. left the stage and was removed to the hospital at collection points where she used to stage scenes for the camp and the sick, five to six times per day. In 1941 the theatre was evacuated to Samarkand and then to Tashkent. Her last roles were in Halkin's "Shpilfoygl" under the direction of Efrayim Loyter, Turavski's "Meydlekh zukhn zeyere heldn", under the direction of Meyerson, a new variation of "Kishuf-makherin" and Dobrushin's "Di shevueh".

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6262.

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