Granovsky, Alexander

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GRANOVSKY, ALEXANDER (pseudonym of Abraham Azarch ; 1890–1937), Soviet theatrical director and founder of the post-Revolution Jewish State Theater. Born in Moscow, he studied at the Institute of Stage Arts in St. Petersburg and worked in Munich, where he was influenced by Rienhardt. Granovsky organized an amateur Yiddish drama group in 1918. In 1919 he was authorized to open a studio in Petrograd (Leningrad), and after six months he presented Maeterlinck's The Blind followed by Sholem *Asch's The Sinner and Amnonand Tamar. Granovsky aimed at the creation of a new Jewish style which would break with the Yiddish "primitive" tradition. His studio grew into a repertory theater, and was finally called the "Jewish State Theater." It moved to Moscow and presented works mainly by Jewish authors, Shalom *Aleichem, Sholem *Asch, A. *Goldfaden, I.L. *Peretz, S. *Abramovitsh (Mendele Mokher Seforim), and L. *Reznik, and plays by non-Jewish authors such as Uriel Acosta by K.F. Gutzkow and Trouhadec by Jules Romains. His method of production was exemplified in his presentation of Peretz's Night in the Old Market (1925), which relied largely on music, movement, lighting, and the "art of silence." In 1928–29 he toured Western Europe. He did not return to Russia, but stayed in Berlin and directed Arnold Zweig's Sergeant Grischa in German and Uriel Acosta for *Habimah (1930). After the Nazis came to power, he moved to Paris, where he worked in the opera and cinema. Among his admirers and students were Solomon *Mikhoels and Benjamin Zuskin.


Das Moskauer juedische akademische Theater (1928); M. Kohansky, The Hebrew Theater (1969), 123f.

[Gershon K. Gershony]