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                                                               YIDDISH THEATRE 101 > THE YIDDISH PLAYS > THE PLAY IN HISTORY  >  THE STRUGGLE

 

"THE STRUGGLE"

(Gerangel)

Performed at the Intimate Playhouse
Bronx, New York

A play in 3 acts and 6 scenes by B. Appelbaum
Produced under the direction of Jacob Mestel
Sceneries and Costumes by M. Zolotarov
 

CHARACTERS
 

 

Laban, owner of the village
Amnon, his son
Ruth, his daughter
Ruben, farm hand, Lahan's half-brother
Deborah, his wife
Jochewed, their daughter
Nahum, a pack carrier, also a half-brother to Laban
David, a mason, his son
Jehuda, a blacksmith
Shalom, Laban's clerk
Ismael, the eldest of the watchmen in Laban services

Card-reader, Ismael's sister (both are illegitimate children)

Farm-hand
Woman-worker
Blacksmith, Jehuda's assistant
Priest
Wanderer
Maid Servant at Laban's

Leiser Zelazo
Jacob Bergreen
Helen Zelinskaya
David Davidov
Chane Kadison
Rose Zelazo
Noah Nachbush
David Dank
Moses Feder
Ruben Wendorff
Moses Timon
Alternated by Ruben Goldfield
Leah Naomi
Alternated by Esther Neroslavskaya
Samuel Cohen
Slava Estrin
Leon Kolker
Leib Kadison
Shlome Ekstadt
Ida Garber

 


(Workers, peasants, watchmen and servants)

Stage Managers: A. Goldfeld and L. Kolker

Lighting effects: Frederick Bentley

 
 

SYNOPSIS

PROLOGUE

Voice Proclamation:

One Heaven Spreads over all of me. The same hatred rages within the hearts of all sufferers. This happens here, there, everywhere, today, yesterday and tomorrow.

ACT I

Scene 1 -- The card-reader warns Jochewed not to believe the lovely words of the wealthy Amnon and not to permit herself to be caught in the throes of his passion. Her own mother, intimates that the card-reader was deceived in the same manner. Jochewed remains frightened, but when her father (Robert) appears with the rest of the farm-hands, she commences, with her world childish loveliness, to prepare the meal for them.

Scene 2 -- After a meal the workingman's family in the village is having a chat about the hunger that is on the eve of coming. The Wanderer appears, begs for a night's lodging. He is cordially received. Shalom, the clerk to Laban, the owner, of the village, arrives and declares that although Laban is a member of their own family, of their own flesh and blood, he cannot do anything to mitigate the hunger. The wheat of the last harvest must be delivered to his uncle in a distant land, because the village is mortgaged to him. The Wanderer explains that Shalom and Laban will deceive them and exchange the bread for lucre (gold). The gathering is becoming conscious of what is taking place. Amnum, Laban's son, appears together with the watchmen, who drive the Wanderer away. The priest appears and dulls the consciousness with his prayers.

ACT II

Scene 1 -- Hunger. Jochewed brings a basket with potatoes, the gift of Amnon. Ruben receives it with suspicion. The wretched family attempts in various ways to stifle the hunger. A few desire to go to Laban and beg him, others, to demand. A few desire to go to Laban and beg him, others, to demand. With the arrival of the Wanderer, they decide to go and demand bread, their own bread.

Scene 2 -- The house of wealthy Laban is being prepared for a feast. It is his daughter Ruth's birthday. It was learned that the new warehouse is filled with bread. Ruth had been among the poor, so she is telling her father about the misery and wretchedness that she had seen. Shalom and Laban are even attempting to deny before Ruth that the new warehouse is filled with bread, and when Laban makes an attempt to force Ruth to become Shalom's bride, she gets up before her father and declares: "The most horrible of all your servants is Shalom." The workers arrive and demand bread; the anger rises; the people are now aligning against the guards. Laban is now attempting to grasp at the past possible means. He counter battles the people with sweet chatter. "Discard the Wanderer's advice," he counsels, "and accept the morsels of bread and bit of wine that is being given to you."

ACT III

Scene 1 -- Amnon has deserted Jochewed. The card-reader depicts the terrible times that are now approaching for Jochewed. Jochewed sees no way out of it. She is now on the edge of despair. Ruben notices her sorrow. The despair is indescribable. Ruben also sees no way out of it, except death.

Again the priest attempts to confuse the people with soothing prayer. The people, however, will not allow to be deceived any longer.

A piercing scream uttered by the wife of Ruben tells that Jochewed had hung herself. She wanted to be delivered from the catastrophe. The fury of the people rises. Jehuda calls upon the people to storm the warehouse.

Scene 2 -- The people are attempting to storm the warehouse. the guards are warding them off, but when Laban's daughter also joins the downtrodden, the guards are driven away, and the doors of the warehouse crumble open to the delight of the hungry-ones.

EPILOGUE

Wanderer; the rest -- in the village and in the city -- all the children in the entire universe.

 

 

 



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