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Bidding Information
Lot #    22080
Auction End Date    11/18/2008 12:33:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Program
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    [Theater]
City    Plock (Plotsk)
Publisher    Druck Taub i Kiper
Publication Date    1924
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition, [4] pp., 172:297 mm., usual age staining.
Paragraph 1    Printed on both sides of a folded page, this is a program listing on one side, and an announcement on the other side, for a performance of a play entitled Joel by Peretz Hirschbein. The drama in three acts is to be directed by Ben-Ami (who also plays the title character). The performance was to take place on Saturday evening, April 12, 1924 at the municipal theater of Plock. The announcement is in Hebrew on one half and in Polish on the other. The program is also in both Hebrew and Polish and lists the cast and includes a special position called the Sufler in Polish and Melahash in Hebrew who is to keep the audience quiet.
   Jacob Ben-Ami [né Shtchirin] (18901977), actor. He was born in Minsk, Russia, and acted for Yiddish companies in Odessa, Vilna, and even London before immigrating to America in 1912. Ben‐Ami soon joined Maurice Schwartz's famous theatre at Irving Place, but found his purist ideals clashed with Schwartz's more pragmatic approach. In 1918 he came to the attention of Arthur Hopkins, who encouraged him to improve his English and perform on Broadway. His first English‐speaking role was as Peter Krumback in Samson and Delilah (1920). Thereafter he moved back and forth between American and Yiddish theatres. He played and directed for the Theatre Guild and supported Eva Le Gallienne at her Civic Repertory Theatre (including Trigorin in The Sea Gull and Epihodov in The Cherry Orchard), as well as assuming important roles in other Broadway shows. He established a number of Yiddish theatre groups, dedicated to mountings of Yiddish classics and Yiddish translations of important works in other languages. Called the knight of the Yiddish intelligentsia, he was praised by Stark Young as the most profoundly natural actor we have. Peretz HIrschbein (18801948) was a Yiddish dramatist and novelist. Hirschbein was born in Kleszczele, eastern Poland. He left home at the age of 14 to study in various yeshivot. At 18 he began writing stories in Yiddish and poems in Hebrew. In 1904 Hirschbein moved to Warsaw where he associated with H. N. Bialik, I. L. Peretz, and S. Asch, who encouraged him to write plays. His first drama Miriam, the story of a prostitute, written in Hebrew, was published in 1905. This and other early plays, published in the fortnightly Ha-Zeman, 190406, dealt with proletarian themes. Later he focused on the pastoral scenes of his childhood. His first Yiddish play, Oyf Yener Zayt Taykh ("Across the River," 1905), was subjective rather than realistic and the symbolist tendencies of Maeterlinck are clearly discernible. Two years later he wrote Di Erd ("The Earth") in which he expressed his distaste for city life and his yearning for nature, a major motif in his later works. With Bialik's assistance in 1908 Hirschbein organized a dramatic group in Odessa aimed at producing Yiddish plays of quality. In two years this group, under Hirschbein's direction, produced plays by Sholem Asch, David Pinski, Jacob Gordin, and Shalom Aleichem, as well as Hirschbein's own plays, in many Russian cities and towns. When Hirschbein's group disbanded, he began a series of journeys that eventually took him to the United States. Between 1912 and 1917 Hirschbein wrote a series of folk dramas, which were staged with great success by the New York Yiddish Art Theater after 1918. Hirschbein's Di Puste Kretshme (1914) was produced in New York under the title The Haunted Inn and appeared as a volume by that name in 1921. During this period he also wrote his famed pastoral romance Grine Felder ("Green Fields," 1923). It was published in English in The Dybbuk and Other Great Yiddish Plays (tr. by J. Landis; 1966). In 1920 he married the poet Esther Shumiatcher, and they traveled around the world for two years. His travelogs were serialized in the Yiddish daily, Der Tog, and appeared in book form entitled Arum der Velt ("Around the World," 1927). Wherever Hirschbein traveled he sought Jewish settlers whom he found even in the most remote corners of the world. Hirschbein's impressions of a trip to Palestine appeared in Erez Israel (1929). Here he displays much sympathy for the pioneers who, amid great difficulties, were trying to develop new modes of living in their kibbutzim. Other travels took him to India, Japan, and China. His travelogs are among the best in Yiddish literature. In 1930 Hirschbein settled in New York, where he wrote a historical tragedy about the life of King Saul, Der Ershter Melekh in Yisroel (1934), the novels Royte Felder ("Red Fields," 1935), and Bovel ("Babylonia," 1942), as well as the collection Monologn ("Monologues," 1939). From 1940 until his death he lived in Los Angeles. During the early period of his literary activity, when he was under the influence of Peretz and Bialik, Hirschbein tried to achieve a synthesis of naturalism and symbolism, but in the course of time he became a neo-realist. However, even his most realistic stories are imbued with lyricism. In his plays Hirschbein displayed mastery of natural dialogue, and despite the occasional stereotype of character, his figures are robust and alive. Hirschbein is an important personality among the Yiddish writers of the postclassical period who combined the new European literary forms with Jewish tradition.
   http://www.answers.com/topic/ben-ami-ben-israel, EJ
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Theater
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew, Polish
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica