Palestine: NP, 1930s. Hardcover. Small Oblong Octavo (6 3/4 x 10"). 16 plates. Original string-bound orange cloth album. This album of early 1930s HA'OHEL and HABIMA Theater performances contains sixteen original gelatin silver prints in various sizes and seven original playbills.
An album illustrating the pioneering performances of Jewish theater of four plays including a premiere of Karel Capek's R.U.R. in 1930 at the OHEL Theater, and Stefan Zweig's Jeremiah in 1929. The other two at the HABIMA Theater: William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (or What You Will) in 1930, and a premiere of H. Levick's Chains in 1931. Karel Capek's (1890–1939) 1920 sci-fi play R.U.R. (short for Rossum's Universal Robots) introduced the word "robot" as a name for artificial worker, derived from the Czech "robota" (forced labor).
Written in 1917, during WWI, "Jeremiah" was one of only a handful of plays from acclaimed author Stefan Zwieg, who was primarily known for his novels and biographies. The play presents the story of the biblical prophet Jeremiah, who prophesied the impending destruction of a nation gone astray. This production of the play, first performed in 1929, was given a heavily Zionist interpretation, with its Hebrew translation by Avigdor Hameiri, its modernist stage design by Aryeh Elhanani, and new music composed by Yedidiya Admon (Gorochov). It was extremely popular, running until at least 1936, and included performances in Europe.
The HABIMA theater was founded by Nahum Zemach (1887–1939) in 1912, in Bialystock (now Poland). From 1918 it operated under the auspices of the Moscow Art Theater, and had close associations with pioneering theater figures including Konstantin Stanislavsky and and Yevgeny Vakhtangov. In 1931 the company settled permanently in Palestine, and since 1958 has become known as the national theater of Israel. The Ohel theater was founded in 1925 by Moshe Halevi, who had previously been a member of the Habima theater company in Moscow, and was a student of Stanislavsky's method. The company was originally known as the Workers' Theater of Palestine, and was the official theater of the Histadrut (the General Labor Federation). From its founding during the yeshuv period through until its closure in the 1960s, the company, along with Habima, was considered among the foremost in Palestine/Israel, with Halevi serving as artistic director. The company's repertoire featured modern proletarian works and Biblical plays.
Text handwritten in Hebrew. Binding with some wear along edges, spotting and rubbed. Photographs in good condition, some of them detached, two probably missing. Some album leaves are detached. Overall in good condition. g. Item #43776
RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots)
The album includes the original playbills of seven HABIMA theater productions: The Golem and Chains by H. Leivick, The Eternal Jew by David Pinski, Uriel Acosta by Karl Gutzkow, Moliére's Tartuffe, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, or What You Will, and The Sacred Flame by Somerset Maugham.