Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Mordechai Yachson


Born on 7 December 1897 in Odessa, Ukraine. Father --  a Chasid. Owner of a boot-stitching business. He learned in cheders and sang with cantors. His parents immigrated to Warsaw, Poland and Y. remained with his grandfather in Brisk, where he learned in a yeshiva and in various Beit HaMedrashim.

1912 -- he arrived in Kishinev, Bessarabia, singing with Cantor Fusman, and he took to performing in Yiddish theatre with "amateurs" under the direction of Itsele Schwartz, then with Sadigurski in Fuklman's theatre. 1913 -- returned to Brisk and organized an amateur group with whom he acted as the "rabbi" in "The Brothers Lurie", and "Uriel Mazik" in "God, Man and Devil". With the outbreak of the first World War, he was sent away to Penza, Russia, later becoming a soldier who was sent to the Austrian Front. In the Duna Serdziel (?), he met the late actor Ben Zion Katz, and with several Yiddish actors organized a troupe in which Y. acted in main roles in Gordin repertoire. 1918 -- returned to Brisk and directed with a local dramatic society, where he directed and acted in the main roles in "Di shkhite", "Di shvueh", "The Jewish King Lear", "Di gblh", "Tkiet khf", "Dorfsiung", "God of Vengeance", "Uriel Acosta" and "Der yeshiva bukher".

1921 -- arrived in America, taking part in episodic roles in the Yiddish Art Theatre, later as a bass-cantata sang in the chorus in Yiddish theatres and participated in sporadic performances for

performances during art evenings (Lumet et al). In the 1924-27 seasons, he was again with the Yiddish Art Theatre. In 1929 -- in the Rolland Theatre with Misha and Lucy German. At the end of the same season he was with Menasha Skulnik, the Hollanders and William Schwartz in the Hopkinson Theatre, and then in the province. 1930 -- in Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre with Fishel Knapov. 1931-32 -- in Williamsburg's Amphion Theatre with Louis Kremer, then in the McKinley Square Theatre (in the Bronx -- ed.) 1934 -- worked in city Yiddish theatre projects, and was an assistant "supervisor" for the troupes that had performed Gordin's "Jewish King Lear" under the direction of B. Thomashefsky. [The play also was performed in English, the translation and direction by Harry Thomashefsky]. 1935-36 -- acted in the revue "Gelebt un gelakht" (directors Bleich-Scooler-Barzel, for the Federal Theatre Project). Then he worked with a part of the actors of the "Vilna Troupe" in other theatres. 1938 -- performed three times a week with Boaz Young on a Yiddish radio program. 1939 -- acted in the role of "Rabbi" in the film "Di kliatshe", from Mendele Mokher Sefarim. 1939-40 -- in the Parkway Theatre with Dinah Halpern, Bleich, Bardzel and Michael Rosenberg. 1940-41 -- in the (Yiddish) Art Theatre; 1941-42 -- in  the Second Avenue Theatre with Menasha Skulnik, Michal Michalesko and Miriam Kressyn; 1942-43 -- in the Jolson Theatre with Molly Picon, and later with the (Yiddish) Art Theatre across the province. Since 1941 Y. is the stage director and technical director of the "Folksbiene", where he has also come to participate in the productions as an actor.

Y. is a member of the Yiddish Actors Union.

Sh. E.

  • Boaz Young -- "Meyn lebn in teater", N. Y., 1950, p. 379.

  • Y. Wolf -- Der "umbakanter soldat" fun der folksbine, "The Daily Morning Journal", N. Y., 25 December 1953.

  • "Fertsik yor folksbine", Book of collections, N. Y., 1955, pp. 76, 130, 158, 182-187.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2123.

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