Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Moshe Shapiro

According to Chinke Braginska, for two to three years S. was in the troupe of her husband (Misha Fiszon), then when the actor Yitzkhok Zandberg became director of a Yiddish theatre in Lodz, he, as his brother-in-law (the husband of Julia Zandberg's sister) went over to play with him.

In his book, "Memoirs," the actor Benzion Palepade recalls:

"In one town in our wanderings there came to our troupe an actor. This was Shapiro. I cannot even mention his given name, but I remember him well, even though I (Moshe) left Schorr's troupe, I never more saw or heard of him [again].

The Shapiro was a Russian, the the young musician. When arrived in town, I knew one god. However Moshe Schorr had found him there hungry, and he had taken him into our troupe, although he should not be starving for individuals, but with us all together... Shapiro was a good actor, and he had already sung, and he was a good and necessary force for our troupe.

(Meanwhile he drew to the troupe a gbir, and it became a management of four people: the old Schorr, Moshe Schorr; the rich man, a certain Liberman, and the prompter Yankl Gliksman. Shapiro battled his fear, that there was nothing left for the other actors.] ...Shapiro has kept me so long, until he had agreed that without us the troupe cannot perform, we may express demands that in fact we felt guilty, knowing we could not go further until we


gave them a certain sum of money, that we should spend our earnings" (and the valiant co-director was asked how much they were demanding.)

In 1908, when the "literary troupe" with Ester Rokhl Kaminska guest-starred in Petersburg, S. was with her, participating in a series of Gordin offerings, playing the roles of "Shalmon" in "Mirele Efros," "R' Zisl" in "The Slaughter," "Raphael" in "Yankl the Blacksmith," "Shmuel Askhenazi" in "The Unknown," "Mark" in "Chasia the Orphan," and "Chayutin" in "The True Power."

In the necrology in "Yiddish Theatre," it was said that "he strove his entire life for a better Yiddish theatre and had participated in the best Yiddish troupes."

S. passed away in Warsaw in 1916 after a severe illness.

According to Zalmen Zylbercweig S. was, not a deformed shtikl, a little nasal, a very talented and serious actor. The type that he had brought out onto the stage had demonstrated that he thought well about the gestures that he interpreted. He manifested intelligence in his acting, tact and understanding.

M.E. from  Chinke Braginska and Sh.E. from Zalmen Zylbercweig.

  • [--] -- "Yiddish Theatre," Warsaw, N' 1, 1921.

  • N. Auslander -- "Yiddish Theatre (1887-1917)," Moscow, 1940, pp. 310-311.

  • Benzion Palepade -- "Memoirs," Buenos Aires, 1946, pp. 182-185.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 4924.

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