YIDDISH THEATRE 101 > THE YIDDISH PLAYS > THE PLAY IN HISTORY > THE IDLE INN
THE IDLE INN1,
So, here is the synopsis of Andreyev's "The Idle Inn". The name of the actor or actress who portrayed a particular role is indicated in parentheses:
On the highroad in the vicinity stands the Idle Inn, an old structure said to be infested with evil spirits. Upon Maite's betrothal, the parents agree to rebuild the Idle Inn, and settle the young couple there.
The wedding take place, and Itzik is one of the guests. All the neighbors have come to participate. Suddenly appear a number of strange-looking traveling merchants. Their presence excites comment on the part of the guests. So many travelers had never visited their locality at one time.
According to Jewish custom, the bride is the recipient of gifts. The strange merchants all present the bride with rare cloth, and jewels of untold price. As the bride places the jewels about her person, the guests regard her, and the merchants with deep awe. Many of the neighbors remark that the whole proceeding is uncanny. Fears of strange influences are whispered from car to car.
After the ceremony Itzik carries off Maite. The disappearance of the bride causes consternation. According to an old Jewish belief, a bride must not be left alone on the day of her wedding, as on that day she is in especial danger of being beset by evil spirits. "The Idle Inn," people say, "has been dismantled to make room for the new home, and now the evil spirits being disturbed, are greatly incensed, and are visiting vengeance upon the families." All rush off to seek the missing bride.
In a desolate
patch of wood by the "Idle Inn" are Maite and
Itzik quarreling stormily and loving
passionately. Bendet appears and rushes at
Itzik. Maite is taken home. She refuses to join
her husband in their new home. Bendet is
terribly wrought up. He ascribes all the evil to
the unclean spirits. He is half-crazed with
fear. Suddenly he rushes off and sets fire to
the "Idle Inn," this being considered by him an
effective means of ridding himself of the spell
of the evil ones. Itzik appears. Upon seeing
him, Bendet, who associates his presence with
the evil spirits, goes into another fit of
uncontrollable rage. Almost insane, he sets fire
to his own house. As the flames eat their way
about the home, Maite becomes terror-stricken,
and attempts to flee with her parents. They
escape through the window, but Itzik intercepts
her. "Now you will not escape me," he tells her,
and carries her off.
Bina Abramowitz, who
Isaac, an innkeeper
1 -- From the playbill for the 1919 Jewish Art Theatre production of "The Idle Inn."
Photograph courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York and the Yiddish Forward newspaper.
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