Vilna Troupe

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VILNA TROUPE , Yiddish theatrical company. It began as an amateur group in Vilna in 1916, organized by the teacher Mordecai Mazo and the painter Leib Kadison, who was its first producer. It moved to Warsaw in 1917 and came to be regarded as the symbol of the "better Yiddish theater" which others had tried to achieve with limited success. The Vilna Troupe's strength lay in its ensemble and in the ideas of its producers, among them Chaim Schneir, Mark Arnstein, Michael *Weichert, who directed *Asch's Kiddush ha-Shem, and David *Herman, who directed *Peretz' Bay Nakht oyfn Altn Mark ("At Night in the Old Market"). Herman's outstanding work, however, was his production of *An-Ski's The Dybbuk in 1920, which brought the company international fame. The tour with The Dybbuk in England, France, and the U.S. in 1921 was triumphant. Success spoiled some of the players, however, and the company broke up not long afterward. One group went to the United States and toured until 1930; the other group remained in Europe and was active in Romania and Poland into the 1930s. Mordecai Mazo, the founder, and his wife, actress Miriam Orleska, perished during World War ii in the Warsaw Ghetto.


Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater (1934).

[Joseph Leftwich]