101 > THE YIDDISH
PLAYS > THE PLAY IN HISTORY > SUNRISE
(Ven di zun geyt oyf)
Musical romance in 2 acts and a prologue by Abraham Blum
Music by Joseph Rumshinsky
Direction: Ludwig Satz Assistant Director: Irving Honigman
Lyrics: Isidor Lillian Dances by Marietta Alva
Settings by Michal Saltzman
The Play -- (Characters in order of their appearance)
Rabbi Itzikel reveals to his friend Benjamin, a rabbi and a mystic, that twenty-five years ago he was compelled to sacrifice his infant son Moishele, when eight days old, by giving him away to the Countess of Muncatch, in exchange for her infant son Carl, who was born mentally deficient, and is now an idiot. The count and the rabbi's wife do not know of the secret, and neither is Count Carl aware of the fact that he is in reality the rabbi's son, nor the idiot Moishele, who is the real count. Rabbi Benjamin assures his friend that his son Moishele will be informed by divine intervention that he is a Jew and will return to his race and faith. Rabbi Itzikel can no longer endure the tragedy -- his son's marriage to Countess Martha, the daughter of a Hungarian anti-Semite. He desires to haste to to the palace to unfold the truth to Carl. His friend advises him not to do so, as the Jewish people will suffer exceedingly when the truth is revealed. He advises him to send to his real son today, on his twenty-fifth birthday, two white pigeons, and the messenger to be a beautiful Jewish girl who might fascinate him and thus make him conscious of his faith. Tzirele, an orphan, the rabbi's niece, goes to the palace, presents Carl with the pigeons. Carl is embarrassed by her wisdom and beauty, the melody she sings for him rings in his ears, and he becomes restless and love sick for the simple Jewish girl Tzirele Mishele, the idiot, who is attached to Tzirele because of her sympathy towards him, tells the countess of his love for her. The countess can no longer see her real son to be an object of laughter and ridicule and promises to speak to the rabbi on his behalf. She offers the rabbi to pay Tzirele great sums of money if she marries the idiot and invites many other brides, that he might select one in the event Tzirele declines to become his bride. Count Carl, who is now in love with Tzirele, appears before the rabbi, asking him for Tsirele's hand -- the rabbi regretfully tells him that he would be happy to, but he cannot go against the decision of his mother the countess. The act ends with the idiot breaking into tears when Tzirele refuses to become his bride.
When the Succoth celebration is at the heights of merriment, Carol visits Tzirele in the garden. Simcha and Bashe are surprised at the rabbi for permitting a non-Jew to visit his niece. Their opinion that the rabbi has lost his mind is affirmed by the rabbi's wife who does not know that Carl is her real son. Martha brings a sword to the idiot and inclines him to kill his bride for deceiving him. He agrees to do so -- but he changes his mind when Carl tells him that he represents him that he represents him in his affection -- thus, kissing her for him -- the fool is pleased by the answer and authorizes him to express his love to her. Martha faces Tzirel with contempt in the presence of Carl, but in absence appeals to her in tears to give her back her Carl. Tzirel consents to do so, and to sacrifice her love for Martha. She tells Carl that she never loved him, that he was only a dream. Carl, bitterly tells her that she was disloyal to him -- and leaves. The fool grieved over Tzirel, declines to pray and upbraids the rabbi for allowing a Jewish girl to be in love with Carl. The countess appears, he expresses his emotion and desires of her to tell him who he is. To the wedding the rabbi appears, asking to live up to the agreement they have made when they exchanged the children that Carol will never marry a non-Jewish girl.
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