A lusty, vigorous piece, “Recruits,” is on display at the Artef Theatre on West Forty-eighth street. Taking for its theme the excitement and despair in a Jewish village in the Polish Pale in 1827, when the Czar issued a ukase ordering Jews to provide recruits for military service, the play centers around the dilemma of the community as to the choice of a recruit and the intrigues leading to the final decision to send Nachman, vigorouns, young, tailor’s apprentice and leader of a miniature revolt against wealthy Jews of the town.
With a Chassidic setting reminiscent of “Yoshe Kalb” and with much the same material, “Recruits” sets out to “kid” the theme and expose elements of religious superstition.
In a somewhat futuristic setting “Recruits,” which is uniformly well acted and avoids the obvious pitfall of exaggeration, proves, as the audience showed by its applause, an unqualified success.
The settings were designed by M. Solotaroff. The play was well directed by Benno Schneider.