Born on 18 February 1880 in
Olmütz, Moravia (now Olomouc, Czech Republic -- ed.).
His grandfather was Gideon Brecher, a medical doctor, a
Talmud scholar. His father was Professor Moritz Brecher,
the rosh hakhol in Prossnitz and Brünn, Moravia.
He completed an ober real school in Brünn.
In 1900 B. became an actor
in Heidelberg, and he went around since 1910 with a
German troupe across the provinces of Austria and
Germany, also acting in Berlin.
Due to his interest in the
"Yiddish" theatre, B. in 1900 staged in Vienna in German
with semi-professionals Dr. Hertzel's "Neye geto (New
Ghetto)". In 1907, he founded there, together with the
poet Dr. Hugo Zuckermann of Vienna a Yiddish arts
theatre in German, in which B. directed with
semi-professionals plays of Peretz, Asch, Koralnik and
Pinski's "Eybiker Yid (Eternal Jew)" (with the
participation of David Herman).
From 1910 until 1921, B. was
associated in Vienna with the Jarno theatres (city
theatre, Theatre in der Josefstadt), performing there as
an actor and theatrical director in the productions of
Strindberg, Ibsen and Wedekind, as well as in classical
repertoire. In the comedy house, B. also staged in
German Pinski's "Isaac Sheftel", "Gabri and the Women"
and "The Treasure" (with Schildkraut) and Hirshbein's
"Contract (aka 'The Agreement')".
In 1919 B. became a teacher
of diction and declamation in the dramatic school
(Director Jacob Mestel) of the "Freie yidishe folksbine".
In 1920-1 B. was associated with the "Frie yidishe
folksbine" as a theatrical director, also giving his
name (together with Yitzhak Deytsh) as the director of
the theatre. Learning Yiddish, B. performed in Yiddish
as "Yankel Shapshovitsh" in Asch's "God of Vengeance",
then he directed Chirikov's "Yidn" and Hirshbein's "The
Agreement" with Baratov, and enabled it that the
well-known German-Yiddish theatre director from Vienna,
Josef Jarno, should invite the Yiddish troupe to perform
in his theatres.
In 1921 B. became engaged to
Max Wilner in New York's Irving Place Theatre, in which
he performed as "Nathan the Wise" by Lessing
(translation by Shmuel Yakov Imber), and he soon went
over to the English stage, performing as the "second
tramp" in Molnar's "Liliam" with the Theatre Guild.
When the "Unzer Theatre" was
founded, under the direction of Hirshbein, Pinski,
Leivik and Elkin, B. became excited as both the
theatrical director and actor, and he performed as "Dn"
in An-ski's "Day and Night", which he helped with the
direction. Afterwards, B. directed Pinski's "The Final
Balance" and acted in the main role in Raboy's "Shtekhik
drot (Prickly Wire)". When the theatre closed, B. went
back to the English stage, where he participated in two
plays, together with Lionel Barrymore, and since 1925 he
has acted in civic repertory theatre with Eva La
Gallienne, where he also occupied himself with
Sh. E. by
Yehuda Bleich and M. E. from Jacob Mestel.
folksbine -- "Presesht'men", Vienna .
Shakhna Epstein -- Di
"habima"-kinstler in a farkhshuftn kreyz, "Frayhayt",
22 December 1926.
Ben Neyten -- Er iz
gekumen in amerike shpilen oyf der idisher bine un
hot zikh gemakht a nomen oyf der englisher, "Der
tog", New York, 14 February 1930.
Mollie B. Steinberg
-- Interesting People, "The Jewish Tribune", N. Y.,
February 7th, 1930.