Museum of the Yiddish Theatre

   
 Bronx
 

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The Bronx Art Theatre
2131 Boston Road, Bronx, NY
This production opened on January 27, 1939.

 

"DER GOLDENER GOT"
(The Golden God)

by Sophie Gaby

 

The following review was written by D. Kaplan for the Yiddish Forward newspaper and was published on February 17, 1939. Here it the English translation:

In the small, intimate "Bronx Art Theatre" (Boston Road and 180th Street), there is now a play, "The Golden God," by Sophie Gaby. Not to mention that given the outdated tantalizing name, the play contains a relatively new and interesting subject. This subject, however, lasts for only one act, the first, which is quite fine. It is then engulfed in a Hosanna-inspired melodramatic piece of fireworks, to create a stage effect, and ends with an every day occurrence, far from the real "happy ending" found in the typical movie.

The subject touches on a delicate string in the soul of every Jewish immigrant who at one time in the old country, still under the Tsar, was idealistic, revolutionary-minded, and here in America, in the fierce struggle for a living, they became mentally depraved, too materialistic, pursuing only money.

In the play we see that sort of alrightnik, Michael Brody, a fur manufacturer, who at one time was in Russia, was a revolutionary. Michael lives in New York, and in California found his friend, Yankl, who once struggled with him in the revolutionary movement. They haven't seen each other for twenty years, and now Yankl arrives in New York to see Michael. Yankl, however, remains a poor worker.

Sonia, Michael's cousin, who also was in the revolutionary movement with Yankl and Michael and now works with Michael in a shop, talks with her father about Yankl, who soon will need to come to the house, and how Michael will meet him. She knows very well that Michael has completely distanced himself from his former colleague, and that the money-god had taken him away from the place of his former ideals. She does not believe, however, that he should not do the same with Yankl, such a hot youthful friend, who once laid down his life for Michael and remains a cripple, a limper. She remembers those years of struggle and ideals, how warm and bright it was on her heart. She speaks with deep longing and enthusiasm and cannot help but think that all this has been removed from Michael's soul.

Soon, however, she becomes disappointed. Michael meets Yankl, not as a former friend would. He does not even give him a hand. And that Yankl declares that he came to New York to have an operation on his crippled foot and needs a little money, he tells Michael.
 

Let us, in passing, immediately notice that not reaching out to an old friend and offering several dollars of help seems exaggerated. This is just not believable, even for one such as Michael. This, however, is a small point. The whole act in general is satisfactory.

Then, however, comes the right porridge, a series of events that can meet ... , but worked out on stage it is very smooth, though far from convincing. Michael has a second wife, a fool, who has an affair with a shop man. The company plans to take over Michael's entire business. Because of his second wife, Michael's son from his first wife is neglected and been expelled from the house. A strike occurs, his son becomes wounded, and at the same time Michael learns of his wife's business with her husband and their plans. Geht er arop fun zinen.

Everything ends peacefully in the last act. Michael's shop takes in Sonia and their son, and they are successful. Yankl's operation was a success. He has already been around for a while. Michael gets out of the crazy house and returns as a mentsh, and catches up with Yankl. And to perpetuate this happiness, he marries Sonia (his playful wife had rejected him.) It turns out that Sonia was once in love with him and did not stop loving him the whole time.

Can you wish for a better ending?

*      *      *

Very sympathetic is Samuel Itzkowitz as Shmuel, Sonia's father. Playing their role well was Chaim Tauber and Ethel Dorf, as Yankl and Sonia. Also participating: Abe Hart, Jack Bernardi, Helen Beda, Abe Dorf, Helen Appel and H. Klein.

S. Gerstenzang and Clara Rosenthal were the couple who crated the jokes and laughter for the audience.
 

 

 

 

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