DOVID LIKHT (DAVID LICHT) (March 7, 1904-July 31, 1975)
The pseudonym of Daniel Frenkl, he was born in Lemberg, eastern Galicia. He studied in religious primary school, in a Polish public school, and in a secular high school. He later graduated from a Polish drama school, became an actor in Polish experimental theater in Lemberg, and at the same time managed the Jewish dramatic studio at the local Y. L. Perets Club. From 1925 he was connected to the Vilna Troupe. He was the founder of a string of experimental theatrical studios, such as: “Teater on grim” (Theater without make-up) in Poland, “Fiat” in Paris, the Bucharest Theater Studio, and “Kunst-bine” (Art stage) in Buenos Aires where he was later active in the theater “IFT” (Idisher folks teater). He also had ties to Habima in Tel Aviv. For many years he was linked with Folksbiene in New York, where he directed a number of works, among them his own stage montages. His writing activities began in 1928 with articles on theatrical issues in the weekly Kinterat (= Kino, teater, radyo [Movie, theater, radio]) in Warsaw, and from that point he contributed to: Der fraynd (The friend) and Velt-iberblik (World survey) in Warsaw; Zibn teg (Seven days) and Tsushteyer (Contribution) in Lemberg; Di naye prese (The new press) in Paris; Ikuf-bleter (Pages from IKUF [Jewish cultural association]) in Bucharest; Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz pages); Di prese (The press), Der shpigl (The mirror), and the monthlies Haynt (Today), and Nayer teater (New theater) of which he was editor 1939-1951)—all in Buenos Aires. He was a regular contributor to Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires, in which he published treatments and articles on the theater, literature, and cultural issues generally. In journals and literary collections, he published a series of one-act plays, sketches, and translations from other languages. He contributed as well to: Tog (Day) and Forverts (Forward) in New York; Di shtime (The voice) in Mexico City; and Afrikaner idishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper) in Johannesburg; among others. He staged (and on occasion dramatized) over fifty plays by: Sholem-Aleykhem, Y. L. Perets, H. Leivick, M. Kulbak, Z. Shneur, Y. Bashevis, and Chaim Grade, among others. As concerns Likht’s adaptations and stagings, Shmuel Niger, Yoysef Opatoshu, H. Leivick, Sholem Asch, Dr. A. Mukdoni, Dr. Shloyme Bikl, and Y. Botoshanski, among others all have written. “Dovid Likht,” wrote Niger, “in his adaptation of Vos in fidele shtekt (What’s inside a fiddle) and In polish af der keyt (Chained in the synagogue anteroom), performed magic on the deepest vibrations of the soul of Y. L. Perets’s work.” He translated for the Yiddish stage: Maxim Gorky’s Yegor Bulychov; Stefan Żeromski Di royz (The rose [original: Róża]); Arthur Miller’s Ale mayne zin (All my sons); Edmond Morris’s Di hiltserne shisl (The wooden bowl); and others as well. He also published under such pen names as: Orski, Lumenov, and Rutes. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Who’s Who in World Jewry (New York, 1962).
Khayim Leyb Fuks