Thursday, 12 October 2017


MARK MEYERSON (1860-May 24, 1928)
            He was born in Odessa, Ukraine.  His acting career began at age sixteen with a Russian dramatic troupe under the leadership of N. K. Miloslavski.  When Goldfaden came with his newly created theater to Odessa, Meyerson joined the troupe and acted on the Yiddish stage until the 1883 edict banning Yiddish theater in Russia.  Thereafter, over the course of twenty-six years, he worked as a director and artist on the Russian stage.  At the invitation of Yankev Adler, he came to the United States where his guest roles had great success.  Returning to Russia, he proceeded to stage the works of the classic European repertoire (Shakespeare, Schiller, and the like) and of modern Yiddish writers (Perets, Nomberg, Asch, Hirshbeyn, and others).  From 1919 he was active in the theater Art Corner in Kiev, where on May 5, 1926 the fiftieth anniversary of Meyerson’s work in the theater was celebrated.  He also composed poetry, monologues, stories, and theatrical works.  He authored the plays: Der hamer fun lebn (The hammer of life); Sdom un amore (Sodom and Gomorrah); Der katorzhnik (The convict); Tsvey tates (Two fathers); A korbn far a korbn (A victim for a victim); Di akhsanye mit di kales (The inn with the brides), and Ot dos heyst a vaybele (That’s what’s called a wife)—all staged by him.  He also translated and adapted for the Yiddish stage: Freylikhe yungen (Happy youths), Frish (Fresh), Gezunt un meshuge (Healthy and crazy), Tsu dem altn got (To the old God), Luftike neshomes (Nimble souls), Der gehenem (Hell), and Shmuel hagodl (Samuel the great), among others.  In the Lipovski archive at YIVO may be found his manuscript: “Der zinger oys palermo” (The singer from Palermo), a comic opera in three acts.  In book form: Der hamer fun lebn, a play in four acts (Vilna, 1909), 52 pp., and he excelled in the dramas staged by Yankev Gordin, especially in the role he made famous of “the wild man.”  He died in Kiev.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934), with a detailed biography.
Yankev Kahan

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