Museum of the Yiddish Theatre

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McKinley Square Theatre
1319 Boston Road, Bronx, NY
This production opened on October 12, 1934.

"FROYEN VOS MENER FARGESN"
(Women Men Forget)

by Anshel Schorr
review by Hillel Rogoff, published on October 19, 1934.

 

"Women Men Forget" is a melodrama with a moral, which will be felt by many women. The subject is taken from life, although the author gave it quite a bit of salt. The play would be much stronger if it had less "strong action," but this is a shortcoming from which every melodrama suffers. The writers of this sort of plays don't understand this, that the "strength" of a drama does not consist of "thunder and lightning", but in the sincerity of the action; not in the tearing the nerves of the viewer, but in making him feel that that what he sees is the truth, forcing him to believe that what comes from the stage really comes from life.

The play presents the tragedy of a woman who gives everything to her husband and children and demands nothing from them. The drama takes place in the house of the Fleischer family. Abram, the husband, is a lawyer; he has a wife, Rosa, and two adolescent children, a son (Harry), and a daughter (Pearl). The action starts on the day when the family is celebrating the silver anniversary of the parents, the twenty-fifth year after their wedding.

What has happened in the house before the beginning of the drama is entirely understandable and also typical. Every year of her married life the wife thought only of her husband and children. She didn't know what was going on with her husband outside the four walls of the house. She believed everything he told her. She believed that she was faithful to him and conveyed that she was satisfied with how much he gave her for household expenses, that she spent as little as possible on clothes and saved him money for a maid. She did not know that in the long years of his practice as a lawyer, he worked very well and made a lot of money. She also didn't know that the money she saved for him for the house he spent on good times for himself, on secret loves and other pleasures.

All this happens before the play begins. The drama depicts how the woman finally opens her eyes and sees what he is doing to her. She opens her eyes not by her own awakening, but because the people in the house start to wake her up. This is what the adolescent children do, and so do her and his parents. The man has been involved in a love affair lately, which threatens to cause a scandal. In addition, he is now less careful than before, and the wife with whom he leads the novel is more reckless. She demands from him as much as possible of his free time, and as much as possible of his attention and of his money. All the people in the house notice it, everyone except the wife. But they talk to her, waking her up ... In addition to the fact that she lost her husband through her goodness and faithfulness, she also loses her children. The daughter falls in love with an Italian, and the son unwillingness commits a murder. At the same time she loses her husband, also losing both her children. This really makes the tragedy more terrible, but this also makes the drama too melodramatic.

And if all this is not enough, another terrible thing happens to the woman. Through her troubles she has a nervous breakdown and loses her memory. She must be taken to a sanitarium.

It goes without saying that everything will be fine in the end. That's how it is in a melodrama. No matter how great the disaster may be in the first two acts, everything is fixed in the last act. Not only does she get healthy, but she also gets her husband and children back. The play begins with a holiday (the silver jubilee) and ends with a holiday (the wedding of the daughter with a Jewish boy).

The production is not bad, although many of the actors have little stage experience. The main role, the role of the wife, is played by Dora Weissman. Those who remember the actress from the former years when she was famous and beloved as a soubrette will be surprised to see how well she acts in a dramatic role. She deserves a compliment, that she understands how to rein in the melodrama. She does not follow the old tragedies of melodramatic plays. She creates the best effects especially in the quiet scenes.

The three parents act very well: Celia Boodkin as Rosa's mother; Charlie Cohan as Rosa's father, and Morris Silberkasten as Abram's father. Charlie Cohan creates a comical type of an old cantor, a buffoon and a brat. Once the cantor used to like to indulge in sin and now he likes to at least talk about the sin. Cohan brings out this type very successfully. Silberkasten's role is more serious, and he excels. The same can be said about Celia Boodkin.

A good impression also is make by two young actors: Manya Schlossberg as Pearl, and Sol Josephson as Harry. I have never seen either of them acting before, but they demonstrate that they can develop into good actors. Sol Josephson, for the most part, has personality and can dance and sing.

Among the others who participate in the play are: Max Lasky, Zena Goldstein, Leon Schechter and Sally Schorr.

The play was written by Anshel Schorr, who is also the stage director and producer.

Celia
Boodkin
Charles
Cohan
Zena
Goldstein
Sol
Josephson
Max
Lasky
Sally
Schorr
Morris
Silberkasten
Dora
Weissman
Leon
Schechter
Manya
Schlossberg

 

 

 

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