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                                                               YIDDISH THEATRE 101 > THE YIDDISH PLAYS > THE PLAY IN HISTORY  >  YEGOR BULITCHEV I


"Yegor Bulitchev"

Drama in three acts by

By Maxim Gorky           Translated by L. Feinberg

Production directed by Jacob Ben-Ami


Yegor Bulitchev, a rich merchant

Jacob Ben-Ami

Xenia, his wife

Rochel Hurowitz

Varvara, their daughter

Frieda Young

Andrei Zvontzov, her husband

A. Alexander

Stepan Tiatin

M. Mandelbaum

Shura, Bulitchev's illegitimatre daughter

Sara Rissman

Melania, Xenia's sister, a mother superior

Bertha Weiner

Mokwi Bakshin

S. Rubenstein

Vasili Dostigayev, a merchant

L. Bacall

Elizaveta, his wife

Shirley Richman

Antoniana, one of their children

Rose Arnoff

Alexei, one of their children

George Chain

Father Pavlin

Sol Bodin

A Doctor

L. Opotoski

Trombone Player

S. Zitch


Sara Pott

The Holy Prokope

Morris Mason

Glaphira, a maid at Bulitchev's

Mania Gitzis

Thalsia, a novice

Edith Slobodkin

Mokoruzoff, a police officer

Julius Young

Yakov Laptieff, Bulitchev's godson

L. Potkin

Donat, a forester

L. Lubansky

Action takes place in a provincial city in Central Russia during the year 1917.

Act one: Bulitchev's dining room.

Act two: Bulitchev's living room.

Act three: same as Act one.

Settings by Walter Thornton.           Stage Manager -- A. Alexander.           

Assistant Stage Manager -- B. Rosenbaume.

Customes: Sarah Patt.            Properties -- D. Stein.



Russia 1817. On the western front the armies of the Allies and their enemies are locked in a grip of death, but on the eastern front the tide had turned against the Czar's forces. Discontent on the front, as well as industrial centers in Russia, was beginning to find expression. Confusion was everywhere. Echoes reached the realm of Bulitchev. A leading merchant and money grubber, he seemed to exemplify the gradual breakup of the great Empire. Bulitchev, who had dominated everyone and everything with his sharp tongue and overbearing manners, is attacked by an incurable disease.

Sensing the weakness of Yegor, his family and little army of retainers, begin to plot the division of his fortune. To help in their dark schemes, Melanie, a mother-superior at a convent, is invited to the house. Bulitchev has befriended Glaphyra, a peasant servant, and it is suspected that he means to divide his estate between her and Shura, an illegitimate daughter by a former alliance. Xenia, his wife, Zwontov, married to their daughter Barbara, a business associate, Dostigayev, Bakshin, and old employee, all put their heads together, but they find Bulitchev more than a match for their evil machinations.

The tactics of the family center on a match between Glaphyra and a penniless student Tyatin; the engagement of a new overseer for the large forest holdings and the repayment to Melanie of a large sum of money that she invested in Bulitchev's business.

Yakob, a godson of Bulitchev, has taken the leadership in agitating for a change of government. The police raid his headquarters and place Yakob and many of his followers under arrest. Bulitchev is impressed with the preaching of the revolutionaries and asks Bakshin to sing a revolutionary song heard in demonstrations. "Sounds more like a prayer to me," Bulitchev mutters.

Frustrated in their plans to wrest the fortune from Bulitchev, they seek to impress him with fake cure-all and witchery. Bulitchev takes little stock in the current superstitions, but in his eagerness to be cured he submits to a trumpet player, a witch and a religious zealot known as "The Holy Innocent." Each in turn try their cures, only to be revealed as the fakers they really are.

Not unlike all Russia, which can no longer find peace under the old regime, the discredited church and the opportunist Donna, Bulitchev can find no relief in the forces of darkness.

As the masses rush through the streets in demonstration, singing their hymn of a new Russia, Bulitchev breathes his last ...

The old Russia is dead ... Bulitchev, the money grubber, the hard liver, the cynic is dead ...

Jack Charash



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