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The Polish Shulamis: Jewish Drama On The Polish Stage In The Late 19th–Early 20th Centuries

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Chapter Summary

Jewish theatre in Polish came into being a couple of decades earlier than commonly believed, in the immediate wake of performances of a so-called "jargon operetta" directed by Abraham Goldfaden in Warsaw and other Polish cities in the years 1885-1887. Goldfaden's plays were the first dramatic works to be translated from Yiddish into Polish, acted by Polish actors and viewed by a Jewish and Polish audience. Of Goldfaden's vast dramatic output, perhaps the most famous was Shulamis, Daughter of Jerusalem. The play was performed and published in 1881 in Odessa and was also the first Yiddish play to be translated into and performed in Polish. The fact that Shulamis, which had been acted over a dozen times in the original by various societies of Jewish artists, was presented in Polish in Lodz three times, including on the Jewish Sabbath, points to its indubitable theatrical success.

Keywords: Abraham Goldfaden; jargon operetta; Jewish theatre; Polish actors; Shulamis; Warsaw; Yiddish play



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