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Another early Yiddish dramatist was Joel Baer Falkovich (Reb Chaimele der Koẓin, Odessa, 1866; Rochel die Singerin, Zhytomyr, 1868).Solomon Jacob Abramowitsch's Die Takse (1869) has the form of a drama, but, like Eliakim Zunser's later Mekirat Yosef (Vilnius, 1893), it was not intended for the stage.The origin of theatre in Christian societies in Europe is often traced to Passion Plays and other religious pageants, similar in some ways to the Purim plays.In the Middle Ages, few Jews would have seen these: they were often performed in the courtyards of Christian churches (few of which were near the Jewish ghettos), on Christian holidays, and they often had significant antisemitic elements in their plots and dialogue.At its height, its geographical scope was comparably broad: from the late 19th century until just before World War II, professional Yiddish theatre could be found throughout the heavily Jewish areas of Eastern and East Central Europe, but also in Berlin, London, Paris, Buenos Aires and New York City.Yiddish theatre's roots include the often satiric plays traditionally performed during religious holiday of Purim (known as Purim spiels); other masquerades such as the Dance of Death; the singing of cantors in the synagogues; Jewish secular song and dramatic improvisation; exposure to the theatre traditions of various European countries, and the Jewish literary culture that had grown in the wake of the Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah).Often satiric and topical, Purim plays were traditionally performed in the courtyard of the synagogue, because they were considered too profane to be performed inside the building.
Such dialogues figured prominently in early Yiddish theatre.
Hersh Leib Sigheter (1829–1930) wrote satirical Purim plays on an annual basis and hired boys to play in them.
Although often objected to by rabbis, these plays were popular, and were performed not only on Purim but for as much as a week afterwards in various locations.
Shortly after that (1869, according to one source), Goldfaden wrote a dialogue Tsvey Shkheynes (Two Neighbors), apparently intended for the stage, and published with moderate success.
A short-lived Yiddish theater in Odessa in 1864 performed dramas Esther and Athalia.