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Haunted Inn


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AT: The Idle Inn A: Pere(t)z Hirs(c)hbein Pf: 1912, New York Pb: 1914 Tr: No pub. translation known G: Romantic com. in 4 acts; Yiddish prose S: Russian farmhouse and environs, c.1910 C: 3m, 1f, extrasMeta is the daughter of a provincial horse trader, who has arranged for her to marry an unattractive individual, although she is in love with her tearaway cousin Itsik. Her father's wedding gift is an abandoned inn, which is supposed to be haunted. At the wedding, Itsik and Meta run away together, and the distraught father assumes that some passing merchants who have joined the wedding feast are in fact phantoms who have spirited Meta away. When Itsik and Meta fall out with each other, she returns home to her father. Following her, Itsik discovers that her superstitious father has set fire to the inn to rid it of its evil spirits and prevent further abductions. In the conflagration, both the inn and the father's house are burnt to the ground, and Meta, now despairing over the loss of Itsik, threatens to throw herself in the flames. Itsik pulls her back and carries her off, declaring that he will never let her go.

AT: The Idle Inn A: Pere(t)z Hirs(c)hbein Pf: 1912, New York Pb: 1914 Tr: No pub. translation known G: Romantic com. in 4 acts; Yiddish prose S: Russian farmhouse and environs, c.1910 C: 3m, 1f, extras

Born in Russia, Hirshbein was prominent in developing Yiddish theatre, touring his own group through Russia 1908–10, until Tsarist oppression drove him into exile. In New York he made a major contribution to providing theatre for the growing Jewish immigrant community, and The Haunted Inn inaugurated Reicher's Jewish Art Theatre in New York in 1919, being later transferred in an English version to Broadway. This comedy is a loving and sentimental recreation of Hirshbein's homeland, where superstition is rife but the young peasants are vigorous and healthy.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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