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November 05, 1920 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish Chronicle, 1920-11-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A mericam ffewish Periodical Cotter




The Last Curtain

A Story of the Yiddish Theatre.

By Elma Ehrlich Levinger.

(Copyrighted, 1920, by Elma Ehrlich
Levinger. All rights reamed.)

delia. "But I'm waiting my chances
and if I can get a play written to suit
me I'm going to try starring myself
next year. The Yiddish stage don't
give you enough opportunity. But
when you hit Broadway you're made.
Look at Nazimova and Kalish!"
They passed down the corridor. A
•notnem later the call boy thrust in
his head with his cry of "Second act."
Ilyman nodded mechanically. He rose
to his feet, pulling his royal velvet
robes around him. He noticed that
the gilt braid about the sleeve was
badly tarnished. "The next time I
wear it, I must have it fixed," he mur-
mured. "The next time . . ." and
went into the wings.
It seemed to Hyman that the play
would never end. For the first time
in his life he trembled With the fear
that he might forget his lines, the
lines of the part he had recited so
often and so effectively. The mem-
bers of the company had suddenly
t urned into his enemies—not the
make-believe enemies of the old king
but the younger generation laughing
at him behind his back, longing to
snatch away his hard-earned laurel
crown. When his undutiful daughter
tl...ted him he seemed to see Mar-
cus's mocking smile. fears ago he
had thought lie know the heart of the
dethroned, insulted king. 'tonight
fur the. first time Ile found himself
weeping real tears and as he sobbed
out the old monarch's immortal com-
plaint, he wept the woes of two old
men, a broken king and an actor soon
to be exiled from the stage:

Jewish Plays on the American Stage.

By S. Dingo!.

In theatrical seasons of recent years
there never was such abundance of
Jewish plays on the non-Jewish stage
as ;during the pressnt season. As.
these lines are written. not less than
three Jewish plays maintain a run on
the New York stage—David Pinski's
"Treasure" at the Garrick Theatre,
"Welcome, Strangers," at Cohan &
Harris' and "The Unwritten Chapter"
at the Astor.
‘Vhence this sudden predilection for
Jewish plays has come upon the stage
is well known in theatrical circles. In
the portfolios of American theatrical
managers there can always be found
some "Jewish" plays, that is, plays
with Jewish characters. Very few
theatrical managers dare to produce
such plays as they fear criticism by
their Gentile audiences who might
charge that such plays suggest the
smell of "gefillte fish." Last year,
however, something occurred that
changed the situation in a turn of an
eyebrow. While many theatres in the
larger cities suffered from financial
reverses a "Jewish" play, "Welcome,
Strangers," was produced in Chicag ,

dramatic material which merely
awaits the ignition of a spark to blow
off A great author, full of national
coneciousness. like David Pinski, is
undoubtedly able to instill into it his
great artistic soul. Nevertheless he
could find nothing better for the
English-speaking stage than his
"Treasure," a half-comical, half-mys-
tical episode, of a small Jewish town
where the gravedigger's son buried
his pet dog and found in the grave a
few gold coins, which caused the
town to proclaim it a treasure and go
on a hunt for money under the guid-
ance of a feeble-minded boy.
While the sophisticated theater-
goer may see in the play the symbol
of constant search for gold and its
ridiculous outcome, an undiscovered
treasure, the American theatre-goer is
usually far removed from such a point
of view. He will leave the theater
with the conclusion that all Jews
have an only aim in life, to hunt for
treasures, and the play will confirm
his settled prejud.ce against the Jew-
ish chase for money.
"The Unwritten Chap t, r" is even
worse, in that the play duns nut pre-
tend to be symbolical and leaves a
had taste in the mouths of the audi-
ence. Jewish heroism in the Ameri-
can Revolution consisted again in
ney. Ilayyint Solomon aided
Washington's army with money and
also dragged money from other Jews
for the purpose. -`'Filus this Jew,
otherwise a very sinypahtetic histori-
cal personage, and whose part is
played by that able Jewish actor,
Louis alarm, becomes to the average
atoLence a sort of half-spy, half-
banker for the Revolutionary army.
and, 1 win sure, the American theatre-
goer will have the performance for-
getting the noble Jewish banker, Hay-
pint Solomon, and retaining in his
memory the figure of a "Jew-trick-
ster," Ilayyint Solomon.
Is Jewish life really founded on
crazy notions or a chase after money?
Such an accusation almost sounds
like a Polish "bilbul."
We have just witnessed the per-
formance of a play written by a Gen-
tile, "Disreali," the story of the great
prime minister of England. Every
Jew may look with pride upon the
play, and every non-Jew will leave
the theatre full of respect for the
great English statesman and the race
to which he belonged. But the Jew-
ish Ilayyan Solomon cannot accord
us respect even though the play was
written by a Jew.

YMAN SHAPIRO sat before the
1 mirror of his dressing table,
busy with his eyebrows. He was to
play "Lear" tonight, and although his
own hair had grown so gray that he
always needed a wig when playing
"younger parts," added a touch of
powder here, a wrinkle there, before
he adjusted his shaggy wig. His
hand' trembled a little when he put
on; for the last few days he had
teen feeling strangely weak and tired
etween performances.
But while on the stage the veteran
actor-manager never felt fatigue. Al-
though almost seventy, lie still loved
the theatre with the same enthusiasm
that had warmed his heart when a
boy and had caused him to run away
from home to join a band of wander-
ing Yiddish actors on the continent.
In middle life he had come to Amer-
ica, and although he did not find it
the "golden land' of his dreams, he
to capacity audiences a whole season.
had prospered until he now stood
The =urgers calm , to realize that
among the first of his profession, a
most of the theatre-goers in the larg-
successful leading man in the theatre
er cities were Jews and that a Jewish
of which he was partial owner.
play was by no means an impediment
There had been shadows. too. His
to business. They, therefore. trans-
wife whom he had married during
planted the sante play, "Welcome,
his early days of struggle had died
Strangers," from Chicago to New
before seeing the results of their 'You see me here, you gods, a poor
York, where its success was dupli-
striving; his only child, Marcus, had
old matt,
cated and where it has been staged
developed into a headstrong, idle fel- As full of grief as age; wretched in
before full houses ever since.
low, who eked out his irregular earn-
both! . . .
Managers Make Mistake.
ings for contributions to the Yiddish
Based on the success of "Welcome,
No, I'll not weep:
papers with frequent loans from his I have full cause for weeping; bin Strangers," two other plays, previous•
father. Even the theatre, the love of
this heart
ly mentioned, found their place on
of his youth, was withdrawing her-fa- Shall break into a hundred thousand
But theatrical
the American stage.
vors from her elderly admirer—there
managers have made a mistake this
were younger men forging their way Or ere I'll weep. 0 fool, I shall go time. The success of "Welcome,
in the profession, a new generation
mad I"
Strangers," was not due to the fact
knocking at the door.
that it was a Jewish play, or that it
Hyman Shapiro sighed a little as
Ile had thundered forth his defi- flattered the Jews, even though such
he put down his lip stick. This was ance to the heavens themselves in a may account partially for its success,
the last night of the revival of "Lear," fury and passion he had never dis- but it was successful because it hap-
which the critics had often called his played before. But his voice failed pens to be, even without its Jewish
greatest role. He had put on the hint, breaking and cracking, driving content. a remarkably well done com-
masterpiece against the advice of his terror into his own soul. For his
edy, light, amusing and in accordance
business manager, fearful of what he well trained ear warned him that the
with the tastes of the average theatre-
called "high brow stuff." "Give the end was not far off.
goer, and then its chief character, the
crowd something lively and up-to-
The nest two acts were one long Jewish star, George Sydney, is so
date," counseled the business mana- purgatory to the frightened, discour- wonderful in the part lie is acting that
ger, "but go light on the poe:ry busi- aged actor. Feeling the passion of
it is a real pleasure to see him or
ness. Or, lake it from me, they'll go the wretched king as he had never
watch his performance.
to the movies."
felt it before, yet dreading to lose
Such cannot, however, be said of
But Hyman had persisted. "When himself in the portrayal lest his voice
the other t wo plays. As a week of
I played 'Lear' in 1898," he began—
should again fail him, Hyman wan- art, Pinski's "Treasure" is undoubt -
"The business manager laughed dered back and forth across the
greater than the other two plays,
guodnaturedly. "Stop talking about mimic heath, now missing a cue, now edly
but it is a satire rather than a comedy
the times when mother was a girl,' racing madly through a lengthy
or drama, and it is an almost impos-
he advised. "You're not going to do speech, lest his voice should break
sible task to make a satire successful
a big business with that stuff that before he reached the end.
WARSAW.—The Jewish deputy,
on the stage. Of all modern drama-
went out of style with the Civil
"What can ail the old fellow?" lie tists only one, liernard Shaw, man- Farbstein, who represents the city of
heard Oswald whisper to the Fool aged to accomplish it. but even his Bialystok in the Polish Diet, has re-
Hyman realized that the business after the curtain had dropped on the
cently published a report of his in-
success is only partial.
manager had been wise in his gen- fourth act. "I've been with ban ten
"The Unwritten Chapter" does not vestigations in that locality.
eration. The box office receipts had years and Never knew hint to take
The report shows that the Poles
possess even such quality. The play
fallen off considerably during the last a drop too much before."
makes the impression of having been during their recent occupation of
week; it was a good thing that to-
Alone in his dressing room, he written with the pre-destined idea Bialystok have completely robbed and
night was Saturday, ending the re- dropped into a chair and tried t o
that Jews are patriots and that they plundered hundreds of Jewish homes
vival. Next week they would put on compose himself before the last act.
are connected with American history and that the loss inflicted to jelvIsh
a modern Yiddish comedy, by an un- Pressing his hands to his whirling
almost from the first day Columbus property in the town reaches the fig-
known and untried author, it was head, Inc closed his eyes and swayed
t his foot in the Ness' World. But ure of 30 million marks. In addition
true, but at least modern and light back and forth in his weakness. With
the play is a long drawn out and too- one Jew, named Hirsh Grotchaysky,
a t th e t ime.
enough to capture an audience. Yet a sudden stab of memory he recalled
otonous, and does not provoke any, was kill e d
Ilyman's heart was heavy with a how on that long ago morning when enthusiasm or any sincere laughs'l Bet conditions in the city were not
sense of unusual failure.
Bolshevik regime.
Ice had run away from home he had
Ile wondered what he would do seen his father .standing before the
It will, therefore, surprise nobody According to Deputy Farbstein, the
the rest of the season. His old-time
closed all Jew-
that the two last-named plays cannot
western svitulov , , dressed in his whit
triumphs failed to kindle enthusiasm talith, swaying back and forth i n
ish and Zionist institutions, seized all
produce the results e xpected by their
in modern audiences. 'They de- prayer. . . He opened his eye s
effects be-
nanagers, and it will be a logical
manded farce and musical. comedies with a start and scented to sec him
thing by the time these lines reach longing to the institutions, forbade
with the smart flippancy of Broad- again, shrouded in his praying shawl,
he reading public that the American Hebrew institutions and schools and
way, or ultra modern realistic bits his little black cap upon his grizzled
stage will have lost two plays of its arrested many distinguished Jews, a
done in the somber manner of the
number of whom, notably Judah Za-
'Jewish' production.
Russians. And Hyman had little
bludowsky, were sent to distant Smo-
"Father," cried Hyman, in supersti-
Dramatists Found Unequal.
knowledge and less sympathy with tious terror, "did you conic to warn
Let us admit that no one will re- lensk.
modern comedy or New Art.
During the stay of the Bolsheviki in
gret the "untimely" death of the two
Turning, he saw in the doorway his
The praying man did not answer,
Our Jewish dramatists have Bialystok, the Jews of the town in-
son Marcus, who had entered without only smiled at him with quiet, gentle plays.
upon offering protection to do
simply been found unequal to the task
taking the trouble to knock. This eyes. And for the first tune Hyman
of presenting the best of their work Poles. As a result four Jew's were
son who had conic to Hayman long saw in his own father another Lear,
the hands of the Bolsheviki.
the American public. Jewish life
after he had despaired of ever know- whose children had also deserted o
Deputy Farbstein _denies emphatic-
of yesterday and today is full of
ing the joy of holding a Kaddish in hint . . . the little sister whose
ally any report to the effect that the
his arms was a slight, not unhand- name they never mentioned . . .
Jews of Bialystok have at any time
some fellow looking considerably the brother who had joined the revo-
fraternized with the Bolsheviki.
younger than his thirty-odd years, lutionists and given up his Judaism
the marks of a selfish, dissipated life for a religion of brotherhood which
scrawled across his sallow face. Now, was to have embraced the world.
(Exclusive to the Lhronres.)
hands in his pockets, his soft fiat
. . . Hyman himself, wandering '
thrust far back upon his curly head,
after strange gods. While his father,
LONDON.—The newspapers her,
he leaned against the jamb of the
the deserted Jew prayed calmly on.
are engaging in a controversy whir:,
door, a half sneer upon his lips.
"I see, I see," sobbed Hyman is most profitable advertisement for
"Evening," lie volunteered, rather
hysterically. "We are all Lears. I the subject of it. Mr. Jose Levy, .
thickly, for he still bit upon his cigar-
hurt him as Marcus hurts me . • • co-religionist, who has made a nano
ette. "Thought I'd drop in and see
as his own son will hurt hint some and large sums of money as a sucess
you do 'Lear.' It's the last night.
day." A new thought struggled in
ful adapter of French plays has n ii
isn't it?"
his tired brain. "And Israel is the started an enterprise which he calls
Hyman's tired face beamed with
Lear of nations . . . beaten de- "London's Grand Guignoi." Ile
joy. "Sit down, sit down," he urged
spised . . . his own children de- staging it at the Little Cheater, in th,
cordially. "I knew you would come
serting him." His artist mind turned nistorical "Adelphi" built by am.
when you had time. The critics say
over the idea lovingly, fondled it. "I named after the famous brother,
it is my masterpiece. You know
would like to write a play about it Adam early in the last century, wha
when 1 played it in 1898—"
he calls the Theater Intime, wher,
"Sure," with a yawn. "And, say. . . . but I ant too old."
The call boy cried the last act. :our or five short plays of real life
can't you lend me about twenty-five
or so till the end of the month? I Hyman staggered to his feet. Ile no tragedy and comedy, are staged am.
ain't been paid for that last set of longer saw his father straying before alayed by a brilliant stock company
articles I did for the Chronicle. And hint in eternal prayer. The vision had n an ever changing programme. Thr
I've got to live in the meantime. vanished, but in its stead had come .irst play of his first program, Said
haven't I?" an ugly note creep:ng into the picture of the martyr nation, IS still running and has caused th,
his lazy voice as he saw Iris father Israel, praying endlessly. The old present discussion, is an adaptat or
actor no longer felt weakness or fear; or Mr. Sewell Collars, whom I seen,
"Yes, Marcus, we have to live—and at last he yas Lear, not only the mad to place as a well known Americar ,
sometimes that is a pity," answered old kale of the poet's vision, but dramatist, of an unpleasant French
play of demi-mondaine life called
his father in gentle irony. "Well. Israel, the Lear of the ages,
'G H. Q. Love." It is the unpleas-
come back after the last act and I'll
The audience, small and apathetic
leaned suddenly forward, as he began antness of the play, and the fact Thai
write you a check."
lady rose and protested agains,
. "Can't you give it to me now? I his lines over the body of the mur-
dered Cordelia. This was 110 longer it from the stalls the other evening
il t . \ got a date around eleven and—"
"For once it will not hurt you to the ranting of a feeble old man who which has set all the tongues wag
see one of my plays right through," had "been somebody in his time." ging, notch to Mr. Levy's profit. Yet
G. H. Q. Love' is not impressive o;
'answered Hyman, turning back to his Here a woman sobbed wildly; there a
mirror. "At least it will be worth critic from uptown who had strayed clever, although at least two plays in
in late "just for local color" clutched the rest of the programme, one
twenty-five dollars."
He tried to smile as he spoke, but his fountain pen hardly able to wait ' thr;ller" and the other a light corn
somehow his son's lazy scorn fol- until he could jot down a note or two edy, are very fine indeed.
This, however, is not my theme .
lowed him through the first act and for his story. With flashing eyes, he
tormented him. Even to his own already saw the headings—"New My theme is that here we have a
of a middle class London
child he was a wornout failure, a Booth Discovered in the Ghetto,"
man who should step aside and give "Yiddish Genius Electrifies Shake- family who has for years been doing
the younger generation room. Even speare." He turned to the sallow artistic work in the realm of the
Marcus lied to escape seeing him act youth at his side: "Some acting," he drama from which he has made
money and an artistic reputation in
his "masterpiece."
rle. Yet of such mee
Yet after the first curtain, when he
"And I wanted to make an early the world outs .
sat before his dressing table once get- away," answered Marcus, as as he the Jew-in-the-street takes no
who has made a
more, he half hoped that Marcus
glad of a listener. "I didn't
fortune in tailoring or cincmatographs
would come behind scenes and speak third( he had it insitn."
or stock exchange
of the performance. He had left his
The old king gve his last despair-
door ajar and when a step sounded ing cry, pressed his lips to Cordelia's operations, is well known, his name
lie is a rep-
in the corridor turned eagerly. But cheek. fell heavily beside her. A
it was only two members of the com- storm of applause shook the place; resentative Jew in the eyes of the
pany, the Fool and Cordelia, idly for a few minutes the other actors large throng that worships the Golden
gossiping together.
could not continue their breif closing Calf. But the Jew who really does
"Thank God," he heard the wom- scene. Some one in the boxes cried work of artistic creative value is un-
an saying, "it's Saturday night. I'll "speech" and the visiting critic ground known to his co-religionists even
while the whole world outside is
be glad when the last curtain
his teeth expecting to see the dead
down on his crazy ShakesPere and Lear rise to bow his thanks. . . . talking about him. Ask the average
little pep
he had heard that the yoften do those middle class Jew or Jewess about G.
we'll do something with a
to it. Though if he could act any crude things in the Yiddish theater. B. Stern, one of our ris'ng young
novelists. They will not even know
more, it wouldn't be so dead."
But at last it grew quiet again and
"lie's beginning to show his age Kent, his voice trembling with a very she is a Jewess. Ask them about
Seigfried Sassoon. They will won-
more and more," agreed her compan- real emotion, spoke his farewell.
ion. "Now," with the air of an au- "Vex not his ghost: 0 let him pass) der vaguely whether he is not con-
nected with banking in India. Al-
thority, although he had been on the
he hates him much
stage but a few years and was any- That would upon the neck of this fred Sutro in the drama, Landon Ron-
ald in muse. Jacob Epstein in sculp-
thing but polished in his technique.
tough world
d go all
ture, Professor Will Rothenstein in
"that scene with me woul
in him. Stretch him out longer." The actors decorative art—these men, who ren-
right if he had any life left
The curtain fell.
But he kills it every time.
crowded about their leading man to der honour daily to the name of Jew,
mighty hard having to act in a com- congratulate him upon the triumph of look for their tribute from the Gen-
pany where they put on rotten
his career. But when they spoke to tile public entirely. No wonder they
and the leading man ought to be in him he did not answer. For the last hold themselves aloof from the public
affairs of their co-religionists.
an old
curtain had fallen.
"It sure is," agreed the fair Cor-


Gehl Nurniturr

An Interior

Designed and executed by Detroit Furniture Shops.

Facilitated by factory association.

Detroit /furniture #1atis

Warren and Riopelle


Jews in Art



Telephone Melrose

Open Saturday Afternoon


By street ear, via Woodward Avenue
and Crosstown ears, east to Riopelle
Street, then walk two blocks north.

By automobile, via Woodward
Avenue, east on Warren Avenue to
Riopelle Street.




WARSAW. — Deputy Farb stein

brought in an interpellation in the
Polish Diet against the anti-Semitic
movement which originated in Bialy-

stok against the Jewish workers in
the textile trade. It is part of a sys-
tematic atonement against Jewish la-
bor. The factories in which Gentile
workers form the majority do not
permit Jewish employes to work and
where Jews predominate, Gentile
pickets intimidate Jewish workers
against employment. The police and
local authorities refuse to offer their
aid and assistance to the Jewish





Lithuanian Kehillahs have organ-
London.—Regulations governing all ized special Jewish Defense Commit-
tees. Jewish young mess volunteer
land transactions have been issued by
for service at the front. Free bat-
the British administration in Pales- talions have been organized every-
tine and are so framed as to prevent where.
Most of the volunteers are
workmen and Zionists. Committees
every form of land speculation.
were organized in SeMi, Vilkomir,
All transactions outside of three-
Ponieves, Nita, Rosin and Taurog..
year leases must be registered through
the administration and are not legally
LONDON.—According to a report
binding until confirmed by the admin-

istration. Purchases of land can only
be made on condition that a purchaser
will ..ultivate the land. Special pro-
visions are included for the protection
of the small farmer and the govern-
ment imposes a fax of 3 per cent on
sales not involving mortgages and
only 1 per cent in mortgaged cases.

received here from Eastern Galicia.

Petlura's bands under the leadership
of General Feenlow committed a num-
ber of progrotn in Jesierzani, Pro-
ber of programs in Jesierzani, Pro-
buszni all stores were looted and the
Jews Michael Ringle,' Herman' Kahn
and Chain Neufeld were killed.


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you here to a successful
Birnbaum Furs are
perfect furs, beau-
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and beautifully
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value. They are from
maker to you.



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