A Tale of Two Museums
Ester Rachel Kaminska Theater Museum Collection

At Night at the Old Marketplace

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Bay nakht program Box41.jpg


At Night at the Old Marketplace


Although written before World War I, Y.L. Peretz's 
At Night in the Old Marketplace rose to become a symbol of the creative ambition of interwar Yiddish theater directors. Adhering closely to the form and even the content of Staniślav Wyśpianski's The Wedding (1901), itself a defining work of Poiish drama, At Night in the Old Marketplace calls for a cast of over 100 people and relates a dreamscape of shtetl characters where the dead mingle with the living. The play was not mounted during Peretz's lifetime due to both political obstacles and lack of a sufficiently developed Yiddish-language theater company. With sufficient talent and resources in place, directors after revived it several times after 1919. A work that spoke to a symbiotic relationship between Yiddish and Polish culture, as well as the avant-garde aspirations of the Yiddish theater, At Night in the Old Marketplace reveals how important Peretz was in laying the groundwork for Yiddish theater during this period. 

This theater program (undated) documents a performance of At Night that was directed by Dovid Herman, music by Joseph Kaminska (the son of Esther-Rokhl Kaminska); set design by Władysław Zew Wajntraub (Chaim Wolf Wajntrojb) c.a. 1891-1943) and choreography by Leah Rotboym, the sister of the director Jakub Rotboym.


RG8, Box 93182


YIVO Institute for Jewish Research


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“At Night at the Old Marketplace ,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed February 29, 2024, https://ataleoftwomuseums.yivo.org/items/show/2128.
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