Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Osip Dymov
(Yosef Perelman)


Born in 1878 in Bialystok, Poland, into an intelligent, semi-assimilated family. His mother is a year-long teacher of foreign languages. He received a slight Yiddish education, attended the gymnasium in Bialystok, and then completed the Forestry Institute in Peterburg.

His literary activity began in small Russian newspapers, and in the span of a short time under his name and under the pseudonym "Kin", he became a major contributor to a Russian humoristic journal, and since 1906 -- a steady feuilletonist for the Russian newspapers "Svobordnaya Misli", "Utro", "Rus" and "Satirikon". D. issued many books in Russian and was popular through several plays, especially through his dramas "Nyu, oder ale tog" (staged in Russian and on stages in other languages, also in film), "Shma yisroel (Hear Ye, Israel)" and "Der eybiker vanderer (The Eternal Wanderer)".

"Shma yisroel" was published in 1907 in Warsaw in Yiddish, translated by amateurs and for the professional Yiddish theatre.

About the production of that play on the Yiddish stage in America, Bessie Thomashefsky relates in her memoirs: "Once Thomashefsky spotted somewhere a goyisher book with a Yiddish name. We fixed [adapted] it with a little of his own prose, and we finally staged a new literary drama with the name 'Shma
 yisroel', by the famous 'Russian' dramatist Osip Dymov.

 We advertised [announced] him as a 'famous Russian dramatist', even though none of us had known him or who he was, and from whence he was famous -- but that he is a 'Russian' -- this all of us had agreed to, because it is an ordinary account: the booklet is a Russian one, Dymov is also Russian, and Osip is the [name of] a Gentile -- he is a Russian, and he vibald has written a drama, that he is a dramatist, and we will be making him famous...we produced 'Shma yisroel'. The critics praised it into the heavens above... but there were no great success in the box office from the play."

"Shma yisroel" also in 1913 was translated into Hebrew [O. Dymov, Shma yisroel. Drama in three acts, translation by Pesach Kaplan, Bialystok, trag. 50 pp., 16] and was performed by the "Hebrew Habima" under the direction of Nitzberg and Tzemakh.

In 1913 Thomashefsky, when he guest-starred in Lodz and there saw a Russian production of D.'s "Der eybiker vanderer (The Eternal Wanderer)" in the anveznheyt of the author, invited D. to America, where in the same year he staged the play in the Yiddish translation of Dr. Mukdoni.

B. Gorin writes about the production: "Here again we have the form overthrown (ibergekert). The best plays now have the single place of rest in Thomashefsky's National Theatre.... not regarding the exhort of the partners and local people and the actors who have acted in the drama ["The Eternal Wanderer"], having with one mouth prophesied that it would be a disgrace to be in a theatre on the evening of the first production, that most likely the play will fail; nevertheless, the prophecy is not fulfilled, and "The Eternal Wanderer" had been deeply accepted by the New York public."

"The Eternal Wanderer" soon thereof also was performed on the Yiddish stage in Europe, and in 1922 was published in Yiddish in Warsaw, with the knowledge of the author.

In 1912 "The Eternal Wanderer" was translated into Hebrew and in Zemach's production was performed by the "Hebrew Habima".

In America D. published the majority [of it] in "Der tog", hundreds of small stories and also many humoresques and feuilletons in "Kunds", and also he issued several small books in Yiddish.

According to B. Gorin, Thomashefsky even in the same season [1914] staged D.'s play "Der gedungener khasen (The Hired Bridegroom)" [anonymous translation by B. Rivkin], which failed.

The same play in 1921 (translated by Moyshe Goldblat), under the name "Der zinger fun zayne laydn", was performed in Minsk [Director Bertanov].

In 1925 the play under the name "Der zinger fun zayn troyer (The Singer and his Sorrows)", aka "Yoshke Musikant", was adapted by Joseph Buloff and Jacob Sternberg, and is in a grotesque form, [Director -- Joseph Buloff], with great success was performed by "The Vilner [Vilna Troupe -- ed.]" in Romania, which also attracted a non-Jewish audience.

In a similar adaptation afterwards, the play was performed on various Yiddish stages.

In May 1926 the new Yiddish theatre (Skala) in Warsaw opened with "Yoshke muzikant, a grotesque comedy in three acts with a prologue and epilogue, staging and direction by Henrik Arbot, musical illustrations by Sh. Weinberg, text and music by Korn-teyer, costumes and scenery by Y. Slivniak and Y. Edelstein".

In February 1926 the play under the name "Yoshke musikant" was staged in the Bronx's Schildkraut Theatre.

In July 1924 "The Singer and his Sorrows" was staged in Polish in Warsaw's Boguslavski's Theatre (Director: Y. Bonetski), in 1926 -- in Hebrew in Eretz Yisroel; also in 1929, under the name "Yuzhik" -- in German [Director -- Hilfert].

In 1914 also -- according to B. Gorin -- D.'s one-acter "Der katorzhnik" was staged, and his tsayt bild "Di mlkhmh", which failed.

In 1915 D.'s "Tsvishn felker" was staged, [and] that also didn't stay on the stage very long.

On 12 January 1917 in the National Theatre there was staged by Thomashefsky D.'s "Der gayst fun der shtot (The Spirit of the City), a drama in three acts with a prologue, music and prologue by Mr. Joseph Rumshinsky".

On 9 November 1917 in Adler's Grand Theatre there was staged by Adler D.'s drama "Di velt in flamen (The World in Flames)". [anonymous translation by B. Rivkin]

On 24 January 1918 D. participated in the play, acting in the role of "Joseph the Poet".

On 22 March 1918 in Adler's Grand Theatre under D.'s direction, there was staged his "Shklafn fun folk, a comedy in four acts, music by Perlmutter and Wohl".

On 25 October 1918 in the Irving Place Theatre, there was staged D.'s "Di ervakhung fun a folk" (Director -- Maurice Schwartz and O. Dymov).

On 15 November 1918 in the Second Avenue [Theatre], staged D.'s "Jerusalem" was staged there.

After D., Emanuel Reicher took over the direction of the "Dos naye yidishe teater" after a certain time, in New York; he staged his comedy "Bronx Express" there on 31 December 1919.

In 1927 the comedy was staged in German in Reinhardt's German theatre in Berlin, and in November 1929 in Polish in Warsaw in the "Ateneum" Theatre.

On 16 January 1920 in Thomashefsky's theatre, there was staged D.'s drama "Der yom kdin (The Judgment Day) (Director: author).

On 28 January 1921 in "Dos naye idishe teater", there was staged D.'s "Nudnikes, a kind of comedy in three acts with a prologue that we do not need completely (?), written by H' Yoel Dulgatsh, Director -- author."

On 29 November 1921 in the Irving Place Theatre, there was staged D.'s "Dendzher, a social drama, director -- author."

In September 1922 in New York, there was founded a Yiddish dramatic school with D. as "regisseur and main director". In November 1922 D. staged with the members of the school Galsvoyrt's "Kamf".

On 24 November 1922 in the People's Theatre there was staged, with Bessie Thomashefsky in the main role, "Lady Hi-tsipe, a novelty comedy [according to B. Gorin -- an adaptation of Sardo's "Madame son zhen"], in four acts by Osip Dymov, music by Joseph Brody, direction by Max Rosenthal and Osip Dymov".

On 29 September 1924 in the Irving Place Theatre, there was staged D.'s "Dem rebins khasonah, a tragi-comedy in three acts, director Max Rosenthal, lyrics and music by Ludwig Satz". According to B. Gorin, in the same year there was staged D.'s comedy "When the Messiah Comes".

In the Spring of 1925 D. together with Rudolf Schildkraut took over the intimate Bronx Theatre [the prominent "Unzer Theatre"], which had then acquired the name "Rudolf Schildkraut Theatre", and had further staged there his "Bronx Express" (with Schildkraut as "Khatzkel"), and on 22 January 1926 his comedy "Di letste gelibte (The Last Lover), scenery by Mordechai Gorelik, music by Vladimir Heifitz."

In 1929 "Di letste gelibte" was staged in German in Max Reinhardt's kammerspiel, and then in other German theatres.

On 25 March 1927 in the Yiddish Art Theatre, there was staged D.'s play, "Mentshn-shtoyb [Human Dust]", director: Maurice Schwartz, Settings: B. Aronson, Music: Vladimir Heifitz.

Shortly thereafter, in New York's Second Avenue Theatre, D.'s twenty-five year anniversary (jubilee) was staged, and D. traveled in from Germany where he was employed by offering his plays for the German stage.

B. wrote all his plays in Russian, and initially afterwards, with the help of friends, his translations into Yiddish.

M. E. from  Lazar Freed, Anatole Winogradoff, Jacob Mestel and B. Rivkin.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I, pp. 690-694.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 213, 214, 218, 261, 280.

  • Bessie Thomashefsky -- "Mayn lebens-geshikhte", pp. 291-2.

  • Dr. Y. Vortsman -- "Der gayst fun shtodt", "tog", N. Y., 17 January 1917.

  • Ab. Cahan -- A tayfel-piese, "Forward", N. Y., 23 January 1917.

  • J. P. Adler -- A brief fun jacob p. adler tsu leon kobrin, "Forward", 23 January 1917.

  • Dr. A. Koralnik -- "Der gayst fun shtot", "Tog", N. Y., 20 January 1917.

  • Osip Dymov -- "Der gayst fun der shtodt", "Tog", 27 January 1917.

  • Liliput -- Osip dymovs naye drame, "Di varhayt", 17 January 1917.

  • Israel der Yankee -- Der gayst fun shtodt, "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 19 January 1917.

  • B. Gorin -- Der gayst fun shtodt, "Morning Journal", 19 January 1917.

  • J. Entin -- Dymov's "a velt in flamen" in grend teater, "Di varhayt", 14 November 1917.

  • J. Entin -- Dos shpilen in "a velt fun flamen", dort, 17 November 1917.

  • Dr. Vortsman -- "Di velt in flamen", "Tog", 17 November 1917.

  • Dr. Sh. M. Melamed -- Ven osip dymov volt geven viliam shekspir..., "Tog", 8 December 1917.

  • Z. Kornblith -- "Di velt in flamen" un di flamendige kritik iber ihr, "Tog", 15 December 1917.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- "Di velt in flamen", a naye drama fun osip dymov in adler's grend theater, "Forward", 24 November 1917.

  • Osip Dymov -- Der aktyor, "Der tog", 23 January 1918.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Dymov "kibetst" dem idishen theater in a nayer piese, "Forward", 2 April 1918.

  • Dr. Y. Votsman -- A satire oyfn idishen teater, "Tog", 30 March 1918.

  • J. Entin -- Dymov's originele shtiferey in adler's grend teater, "Di varhayt", 27 March 1918.

  • B. Gorin -- Di shklafen fun folk, "Morning Journal", 31 October 1918.

  • J. Entin -- Dymov's alt-naye piese in irving pleys theater, "Di varhayt", 31 October 1918.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Osip dymov's naye piese in irving pleys theater, "Forward", 12 November 1918.

  • Israel der yankee -- Di idishe teater velt, "Yidishe tageblatt", N. Y., 22 November 1918.

  • J. Entin -- Osip dymov's "yerushalayim" in sekond av. teater, "Di varhayt", N. Y. 20 November 1918.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Osip dymov's naye piese in sekond avenue theater, "Forward" 27 November 1918.

  • Louis Lipsky -- Dymov's naye simbolishe melodrama, Morning Journal, N. Y., 27 January 1920.

  • S. Dingol -- "Bronks ekspres" fun osip dymov, in nayes idishen teater, "Tog", 9 January 1920.

  • Ab. Cahan -- A nayer sort komedye oyf der idisher bine, "Forward", 5 January 1920.

  • Israel der yankee -- "Bronks ekspres", "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 12 January 1920.

  • Uriel Mazik -- Der "yom khdin" fun osip dymov in tomashevsky's teater, "Tog", 23 January 1920.

  • B. Gorin -- Bronks ekspres, "Morning Journal", N. Y.,11 January 1920.

  • V. Reznik -- Osip dymov vegen idisher drama, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 2 January 1921.

  • Ab. Cahan -- A humoristishe piese fun osip dymov in nayem theater, "Forward", 9 February 1921.

  • Israel der yankee -- Gudnikes, "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 7 February 1921.

  • A. Zeldin -- Osip dymov's "nudnikes" in dem nayem idishen teater, "Tog", 11 February 1921.

  • B. Gorin -- A simbolishe melodrama in irving pleys teater, "Morning Journal", 16 December 1921.

  • David Warshawsky -- Bessie thomashevsky als "leydy khaya tsipe", "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 1 December 1922.

  • B. Gorin -- Leydi khaya tsipe, Morning Journal, 3 December 1922.

  • Moshe Nadir -- "Mayne hent hobn fargosn dos blut", pp. 108-112, 128-32, 157-160.

  • M. Young -- Aktyoren fun's folk, "Frayhayt", 24 November 1922.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Theater ohn a loshun, "Morning Journal", 28 December 1923.

  • Ab. Cahan -- "Broyt", a naye komedye fun osip dymov in shvartz's kunst theater, "Forward", 25 December 1923.

  • Liliput -- Umziste broyt un tsugeshpitste khkhmus, "Frayhayt", 21 December 1923.

  • L. S. Bieli -- Osip dymov's "broyt" bay shvarts'n "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 21 December 1923.

  • Dr. A. Koralnik -- Sam un lemakh, "Tog" 28 December 1923.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Tsvey melodrames, eyne fun osip dymov un di andere fun y. d. berkovitsh, "Forward", 9 October 1924.

  • N. Buchwald -- Mit pretenzies un on pretenzies, "Frayhayt" 10 October 1924.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Shpas far der tsayt, "Morning Journal", 17 October 1924.

  • L. S. Bieli -- "Dem rebin's khasunah" in irving pleys, "Yidishe tageblat", 10 October 1924.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Dem "rebin's khasunah" ins irving pleys teater, "Tog", N.Y., 10 October 1924.

  • Dr. Michael Weichert -- Realizm, melodrame un ironye, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 64, 1925.

  • N. Meisel -- Efenung funs nayem yidishn teater in varshe, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 108, 1926.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Di letste libe, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 29 January 1926.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Shildkroyt in a naye piese fun osip dymov, "Forward", 5 February 1926.

  • MIchael Weichert -- "Teater un drame", II, pp. 174-176.

  • L. S. Bieli -- Di naye piese fun shildkroyt's teater, "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 29 January 1926.

  • Alter Epstein -- In tsvey idishe theaters, "Tog", N. Y., 29 January 1926.

  • J. Entin -- Osip dymov's "Di letste gelibte" in shildkroyt's teater, "Yid"arb", N. Y., 2, 1926.

  • B. Zil -- "Di letste gelibte" fun osip dymov in shildkroyt teater, "Feder", N. Y., 2, 1926.

  • M. Ring --Dymov's naye shtik in shildkroyt's teater, "Frayhayt", 29 January 1926.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Tsvey tragedyes, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 5 March 1926.

  • Alter Epstein -- "Yoshke muzikant" in shildkroyt teater, "Tog", 5 March 1926.

  • William Abrams -- A sheyne meshh'le shlekht geshpilt, "Frayhayt", 5 March 1926.

  • Ab. Cahan -- "Menshen-shtoyb", di naye piese fun osip dymov, "Forward", 5 April 1927.

  • L. Kesner -- Shvarts un ben-ami's pesakh piesen, "Yidishe tageblat", N. Y., 1 April 1927.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Jez an eynzehenish, "Morning Journal", 1 April 1927.

  • B. Botwinik -- Tsvey naye piesen in shvarts's teater, "Der velker", N. Y., 9 April 1927.

  • B. Botwinik -- Nokhamol vegen osip dymov's "menshen shtoyb", dort, 16 April 1927.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Dray yubilarn, "Tsukunft", June 1927.

  • Dr. Michael Weichert -- Di teater-velt in berlin -- "Literarishe bleter", 21, 1929.

  • Y. M. N. -- Teatr-notitsen, "Haynt", Warsaw 1929, 24 November 1929.

  • Avraham Teitelbaum -- Teateralia", Warsaw,1929, pp. 69-77.

  • Piotr Pilsky -- Osip dymov, "Literarishe bleter", 44, 1929.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Zikhrunus fun a yidishn teater-kritik, "Archive", pp. 417-8.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 557.

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