Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Sharavner

Born circa 1860 in Faleshti, Bessarabia.

The actress Emilia Adler remembers him from Zamoshtsh, with his first wife Gustie. She used to occasionally play the flute, and he was a courier, who used to run through the streets for his life..

S. then became a Yiddish actor. In 1891 he played with Stumacher in Berlin, where he was a theatrical director, then  he took over Stumacher's troupe, later he went over to Vaysfeld's troupe.

M. Myodovnik relates in his memoirs:

"The creations of the itinerant troupe in Tomashev were very bad. Then the theatre was taken over by Sharavner and Titelman. From Tomashev we traveled out to Opotshna or Kutne. There we met Itzhak Yitzkhok Leyb Peretz [?], had the management turn to him so he should be of help to us, that we should be able to put on several productions. Peretz had asked us to get to the theatre for two nights. They had put on 'Kuni Lemel' and 'Treyfnyak.' The business was bad. ...and that we had completed the two productions with Sharavner, Titelman and Chizhik and went away to Warsaw to Vaysfeld. This was in the year of 1891."


The well-known Yiddish writer M. Spektor writes about his acting:

"Mr. Sharavner has the nature of an artist and in his acting he is very similar to old Fiszon with his performance in serious roles. However,....

S. later by himself became the director of a Yiddish troupe, and by it had for a certain time played with several later-famous actors such as Michalesko, Lebedeff, Meyerson, Lichtenstein, Gartelevitsh, and the actor and playwright Israel Rosenberg, whom later also became his brother-in-law.

According to Rosenberg, S. played all the main roles in every genre, but he was especially aroused by playing "Shloymke Sharlatan."

The well-known Yiddish writer, M. Spector, writes about his acting:

"H' Sharavner is by nature an artist, and in his acting he is very similar to the old Fiszon with this performance in serious roles. He, however, is much stronger and ruled over the audience when he acted in comic roles, generally and in Jewish types, especially from the good old days. They know only not to grant Mr. Sharavner his German speech in the Yiddish scenes, he almost knows very well the Jewish life, and the spech with which the Jew speaks. It can only be explained by this, which in the time when they permitted the playing of Yiddish theatre "in German," and this was the case with the Germans, and now it was very plain to wipe out from the "Yiddish-Deytshmerish," who grilts in the hearing of this, where there there is heard in theatre a Yiddish word."

Sh. later by himself was a director of a Yiddish troupe, and with him for a certain time there played several later-famous actors, such as Michalesko, Lebedeff, Meyerson, Lichtenstein, Gartelewitz, and the actor and playwright Israel Rosenberg, who later became his brother-in-law.

According to Rosenberg, Sh. played every main role in every genre, but especially he excelled when he played "Shloymke sharlatan."

The actor Z. Katz recalls that "Sh. had put on a benefit for Shomer's "Bal tshuva," but someone was needed to play the role of "Diner," who needed after death from the Bal tshuva to cover him and say in "his voice" at the time the play had ended, did not come. Sh. had forgotten that he had no one to play the role, and in the last instant he had found a youth, who prepared the recruit and gave him the role to play. The youth had however on the stage so shocked, that he however showed the death and put the light on his head, but he hadn't opened his mouth to speak in his "voice." Sh. was lying down, taking crutches [?], gnashing with the teeth, curls, abusive speech, and he let down the curtains. and when it all hadn't helped, Sh. as the "deceased," by himself, after singing loudly, from the "rear."

His second wife, Sarah (Soffe) had played with him in the troupe, their daughter, Yeva, is a Yiddish actress. His sister is the actress and writer Vera Rozenka ("The Yiddish Shikse.")

In bad material shape, Sh. passed away in 1923 in an insane asylum on Kirelovke in Kiev

Sh..E. from Mark Leiptsiker, M.E. from Vera Rosanka.

  • M. Spector -- The Yiddish Theatre Then and Now, "Dos yidishe folk," Vilna, N' 6, 1906.

  • Z. Katz -- Mkhit hmt s, "Di yidishe bine," Warsaw, N' 3, September 1924.

  • M. Myodovnik -- Mayne teater-zikhrones, "Shtern," 1, 2, 1926.

  • Emilia Adler -- The Life of a Yiddish Actress, "Di yidishe velt," Cleveland, 11 July 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2606.

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