Bucharest Yiddish Studio Theater

The Bucharest Yiddish Studio Theater (Yiddish: Bukareshter Idishe Teater-Studie, BITS) was a short-lived, highly experimental Yiddish theater founded in Bucharest, Romania in 1930, under the leadership of Jacob Sternberg.

Their first production, in January 1930, was I.L. Peretz's A Night in the Old Town, also known as A Night in the Old Marketplace — that is to say, in the Jewish ghetto. Dimineaţa said of this play that it "does not have a subject in the conventional sense of the word" but is instead "the dream of a cold night", moving smoothly between the world of the living and that of the dead. The play was a hit and a critical success. Tudor Arghezi, who did not speak Yiddish, praised Sternberg highly for the production, and for the structure of the performance, whose blend of "order and disorder" he described as "inexplicable, like Beethoven's music".

Arghezi also remarked of A Night in the Old Town, "you are either open to this, or you are not". Many were not. Barbu Lăzăreanu, a prominent Jewish intellectual and ethnologist, said that BITS "altered the Peretz's work into an orgy of orori osifere and monosyllabism that creates an unstoppable impression of the lugubrious and hyper-transcendental."

Their subsequent production of Sholom Aleichem's Der Farkishefter Shnayder (The Bewitched Tailor) was described by the Literarishe Bleter of Warsaw, Poland as "a unified and enchanting spectacle of prose, poetry, and song" incorporating new songs "full of hope", but also music from the synagogue and popular song, "but on all this it embroiders a sad mirth, realist-simple and demented-symbolist comedy, which ends with optimistic rhymes — the moral of the comedy — sung by the comedians themselves."

Famous quotes containing the words theater, studio and/or bucharest:

    The theater is a baffling business, and a shockingly wasteful one when you consider that people who have proven their worth, who have appeared in or been responsible for successful plays, who have given outstanding performances, can still, in the full tide of their energy, be forced, through lack of opportunity, to sit idle season after season, their enthusiasm, their morale, their very talent dwindling to slow gray death. Of finances we will not even speak; it is too sad a tale.
    Ilka Chase (1905–1978)

    Again and again, I struggled though the storm. Once I fainted—and it wasn’t in the script. I was hauled to the studio on a sled, thawed out with hot tea, and then brought back to the blizzard, where the others were waiting. We filmed all day and all night, stopping only to eat standing near a bonfire. We never went inside.... The blizzard never slackened.
    Lillian Gish (1896–1993)

    I had such a wonderful feeling last night, walking beneath the dark sky while cannon boomed on my right and guns on my left ... the feeling that I could change the world only by being there.
    Viorica Butnariu, Rumanian student at Bucharest University. letter, Dec. 23, 1989, to American friend. Observer (London, Dec. 31, 1989)