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 YIDDISH THEATRE 101 > THE YIDDISH PLAYS > THE PLAY IN HISTORY  >  Z. LIBIN   >   BROKEN HEARTS

 

 

Jacob P. Adler,
who plays
Nochum Astrin

SYNOPSIS OF "BROKEN HEARTS1"
(Yiddish: Gebrokhene hertser)

by Z. Libin



This play starred Jacob P. Adler
It was first staged on September 18, 1903 in NYC's Grand Theatre.
 

Here is the listed cast from the Grand Theatre production of this play when it opened on September 18, 1903:

Jacob P. Adler, Sonia Nadolsky, Ida Nathanson, Sarah Adler, Efrim Perlmutter, Charlotte Greenberg, David Levenson and Master Bernstein (a child).

So, here is the synopsis of Libin's "Broken Hearts." The name of the actor or actress who portrayed a particular role is indicated in parentheses:


ACT ONE

A room in the house of Nochum Astrin (Jacob P. Adler).  Michlie (Ida Nathanson) works at neckties. She lights a Yahrzeit candle on the anniversary of the death of her husband. She calls Semken (Master Bernstein), telling him to recite the Kaddish (prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased parent). Wigdor (Efrim Perlmutter), who peddles with vegetables, comes for a visit to his relatives. Nochum Astrin enters with a Shadchen (matchmaker). Gitel (Sarah Adler) returns from the shop. Gitel communicates the awful secret to her sister. Gitel declines the Shiduch (match). M'shorerim (boys' choir) come to the Chazan for a rehearsal. Gitel receives a letter from her lover, telling her the sad truth. Benjamin (David Levenson) enters and tells her everything, and she orders him to return home. Gitel is careful not to reveal the secret of her parents.
 

ACT TWO

Celebration of the tnoyim (engagement) of the only son of Tashkind. They accept it, while their hearts are broken. Wigder brightens and cheers the family. He advises Gitel to forget Benjamin, telling her a story of two potatoes. Wigder fetches beer. Sprinze (Charlotte Greenberg) gives the information that Benjamin has returned from Russia. To hide her excitement, Gitel works herself up into a happy mood and drinks beer. Benjamin enters. Nochum Astrin and his wife Feiga return from the tnoyim. They had learned there of the bad rumors concerning their daughter. Nochum questions Gitel. She does not deny, but she does not make mention of Benjamin; on the contrary, she tries to avert any suspicion from him. Nochum drives his daughter away from his home.
 

ACT THREE

(At the house of Wigdor.)

Wigdor and his wife Sprintze quarrel. Gitel returns with her child. Benjamin comes to meet her. Gitel writes  a note to her father. Her parents come to see her. They contemplate to separate from her child.
 

ACT FOUR

A room in a hospital.  Gitel is dying. Her relatives and friends come to see her. Nochum recites with his daughter the Vidui (confessions of sins on the deathbed). The little child is brought from the Orphan Asylum to the bedside of the dying mother. Benjamin enters. Gitel dies.
 

THE CAST ET AL OF "THE BROKEN HEARTS"
 

 

 

1 -- From the play program for "The Broken Hearts," 1903, New York Public Library.



Z. Libin,
the author
of the play

Sarah Adler,
who plays
Gitel, child of
Nochum & Feiga
 




David Levenson,
who plays
Benjamin


 

 



Efrim Perlmutter,
who plays
Wigder,
nephew of Feiga






Sonia Nadolsky,
who plays Feiga,
wife of
Nochum Astrin
 


 

                                                 

 





 

 

 




Photographs courtesy of the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance Archives and the Yiddish Forward.
Cast photograph from the Museum of the City of New York.

Copyright Museum of the Yiddish Theatre.  All rights reserved.