Performing Arts - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
Skip to main content

Performing Arts

Main Content

... appearing now in a theater near you!

Picture from the Habimah production of the Golem

Picture from the Habimah production of the Golem.

 Golem stories seemed a natural fit for the performing arts. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, playwrites, film-makers, composers, and dancers were all intrigued by the images and drama in these stories.

The German novelist Arthur Holitscher's three-act drama Der Golem appeared in 1908. The Yiddish dramatist H. Leivick's Der Golem was first staged in Moscow (1925) in Hebrew by the Habimah Theater. The picture on the right shows Aaron Meskin playing the Golem, holding the ax, with Baruch Chememinski as Rabbi Lowe in the Habima production.

Still picture from Wegener's Goldm

Still picture from Wegener's Golem

 A classic German silent film directed by Paul Wegener and Henrik Galeen was produced in 1920, with a French remake by Julien Duvivier coming out in 1936. The screenplay for a post-World War II Czech film about the golem was written by Arnost Lustig.

Music for Leivick's drama was written by Moses Milner; and Eugen d'Albert's opera Der Golem, with libretto by F. Lion, had its premiere at Frankfurt in 1926. Another work was Joseph Achron's Golem Suite for orchestra (1932), composed under the influence of the Habimah production. The last piece of this suite was written as the first movement's exact musical image in reverse to symbolize the disintegration of the homunculus.

Golem ballet, Vienna

Golem ballet, Vienna 1968. 

 The Golem stories have also been interpreted in dance. One example is Der Golem, a ballet by Francis Burt with choreography by Erika Hanka. A scene from the 1968 Vienna production is pictured on the right.

Text based on: The Encyclopedia Judaica

Some works can be found in the HUC-JIR catalog under: Golem--Drama or Golem (Motion picture)


Golem HomeLiterature | Performing Arts | Visual Arts | Comics | Links