Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Muranów Theatre

The site of the Muranów Theatre can be found in Warsaw within the so-called 'Muranów Park', which in the past was known as "Narodni Dom (House of the Nation)." The manager of Muranów Park was the Warsaw mayor's police chief.

In 1905 Dr. Rozenthal, the first husband of the writer Paulina Prilutski, and her father Herr Edelstein rented the place for a year and there they created a theatre. It immediately arranged for a Yiddish theatre troupe under the direction of Sam Adler and Nadia Neroslavska. This was a first-rate troupe, without rival. Its music was tasteful and met the demands of the audience, but they did not stay together for very long. Later there was a second troupe, under the direction of Avraham Fishzohn, and it too could not maintain itself for very long and they relocated to a second Yiddish theatre, the "Jardin d'Hiver".

The theatre thus remained empty, and the police chief himself began to take an interest in the future of the building. It was fortunate that due to the lack of success, he should look up the Yiddish theatre director and actor A. G. Kompaneyets whom he had met in Vilna when he was the chief of police in that town. Dr. Rozental and Edelstein had gone off to Shavel, where Kompaneyets was then performing, and they signed him to a contract. In the beginning of 1906 Kompaneyets arrived in Warsaw and opened the theatre under his direction with the following ensemble: Leah Kompaneyets, Clara Gottlieb, Zina Teks (later -- Rappel), Sofia Schwartz, A. G. Kompaneyets, Rudolf Zaslavsky, Brandesco, George Evin, Misha German, Boris Rosenthal and L. Rappel. The first time they staged Shomer's "The Coquettish Ladies"; Goldfaden's "Shmendrik" and "Ni-be-ni-me [ni-cucurigu]" ["Not Me, Not You, Not Cock-a-Doodle-Doo'"], and later Schorr's "A mentsh zol men zayn"; Skrib's "Zydowka"; Gabel's "Tate, mame's tsurus", and Tomashevsky's "Pintele yid".

For each performance the director Kompaneyets used to raise the curtain and have a talk with the audience about the 'meaning' of theatre. The audience received the talks with great ovations, and in this same way he quickly gained the sympathy of the theatre audience.

At the end of 1906 the contract was concluded with 'Narodni Dom', and the police chief turned over the 'Muranów Theatre' to Kompaneyets, who then implemented an internal and external reorganization of the theatre. He hired two dramatic directors: for the dramas -- Mark Arnstein, and for the operettas -- Mark Meyerson. The original troupe was enlarged by adding the actors: Leonid Sokolov, Leyzer Zhelazo, H. Weissman, Yermolina-Weissman, Brown, Guzik, Weisblatt, the late Michal Michalesko, Adolf Berman, Gustav Shwartzbard et al. Also the repertoire was completely changed. For several years the work of the theatre advanced normally. Its popularity increased from day-to-day, and the financial outlook was outstanding.

At the beginning of each year, when Kompaneyets' contract had ended with 'Narodni Dom' and it needed to be renewed, the chancellery of the police chief plied him with hundreds of proposals from capitalists and professionals who would take on the lease of the building of the 'Muranów' Theatre, but not looking at the higher price they they had proposed, the building stayed with Kompaneyets. 

Through the time he was on the board of the 'Muranów' theatre, other troupes were engaged, such as the 'Hirshbein Troupe', the 'Fareinikte (United) Troupe'; from the choir that had sung in the 'Muranów' Theatre there came later the very well-known actors: Zina Goldstein, Anna Foderman, Bleiman, Yakov Lerman and the late well-known Yiddish actor Samuel Goldenburg. The leaders of the theatre were: Yitzkhok Schlossberg, Mordechai Hochberg, Kumok and Peretz Sandler.

In 1912 Kompaneyets began to receive frequent reports from the ministry that the site of the theatre was needed for a citadel, and that they then required in the 'Hoikhe fenster (high window)' that he should release the site. The old committee began to provide continuous observations that the theatre had not adapted to the necessary sanitary conditions. The old arguments and the dreamed-up pretension assumed ever more stringent forms, and at the end of 1912 the theatre closed. Shortly thereafter it was completely cleaned out.

  • [--] -- History of Yiddish Theatre in Warsaw, "Teater-tsaytung", Warsaw, 1, 2, 1928.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6,  page 5115.

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