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GUSKIN BRINGS A GREETING FROM

YIDDISH THEATRE IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES
 

The plan About Sending American troupes on Tour abroad.
 

January 3, 1930
 

 

The manager of the Yiddish Actors' Union, Reuben Guskin, brings a sad greeting from the Yiddish Theatre in Europe. On his trip he visited Warsaw, Berlin, London and Paris and had an opportunity to watch and familiarize himself with the condition of the Yiddish stage in each country. The impression he brought back with him was a burden. Poor, very poor is the Yiddish theatre there, and it is difficult for the Yiddish actor to live there.

You see, the main reason for this lies in the bad economic condition of the Jewish masses. However, the situation would not be so sad if other reasons did not exist.

The European Yiddish stage: mainly in Warsaw and Paris, feeds itself with plays and songs that were created in America, from American playwrights and musicians. This leads to the stage and the surrounding life; the daily lives of the masses are not organically connected. Instead it is that the stage may reflect Jewish life in Poland, or the Jewish life in Paris, which is busy with operettas that are created in New York out of need for the New York theatregoer.

Out of this often comes an absurdity. Plays that are in New York are played with success. They are staged with distortion and perversion. It is from them, like the Americans say, neither fish nor fowl.

It also feels there that there are also missing first-class actors (in American-speak, stars), who should be able to hold a theatre on their shoulders. There are good ensemble actors in such cities as Warsaw and Paris. There is only a deficiency at the "head," stars, who should sustain and hold together the companies.

When these evils are avoided, Guskin believes, the Yiddish theatre in the European countries will be increased and will take root in the life there. In Warsaw, he says, there are places for a couple of good Yiddish theatres. The public loves theatre and is prepared to support it, but simple theatres are lacking.

Guskin believes that thanks to the friendly relationship that now exists with the Yiddish theatre family in Europe, it is possible perhaps to send out from time to time entire troupes from here to there. He presented this plan yesterday at a meeting of the Actors' Union, which was called together to listen to his report about the peace that he concluded with the Artists' Union in Warsaw.

In London there now exists only one Yiddish theatre, the Pavilion, which Joseph Kessler has maintained for the last few years. Kessler now is ill, and in the theatre there Boris Thomashefsky plays. Paris, which has a much smaller Jewish population, like London, has two Yiddish troupes. Even in Berlin there now plays a Yiddish company with Minnie Axelrod, who at times has played in America as a star.

Returning home, Guskin is an enthusiast for -- America. When he left the old country twenty-six years ago, she was poor and returned [back to Europe]. He found her even poorer and more broken.

About the peace that Guskin had directed between the local actors' union and the Warsaw Artists' Union, it has already been reported in the "Forward" through a special correspondence. In Paris, the local organization of Yiddish actors agreed to unanimously to elect him as an honorary member and presented him with a membership card. This is the only souvenir that he brought back from his trip to Europe, and he values it more dearly than any gift he would have otherwise received there.

Tuesday Guskin got off the ship, and Wednesday he already went back to work. There was "plenty of trouble" waiting for him and, if we are not mistaken, he traveled out on the road to settle theatre disputes.

At the next meeting in the Actors' Club, Guskin was received by the many actors who came to hear his report. Jean Greenfield, the President of the Union who represented him in his absence, greeted him, as did Jacob Kalich, A. Teitelbaum and Ludwig Satz. Louis Goldstein was the chairman.
 

 

 



 

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