BWW Reviews: In LOST IN LVOV, Sandy Simona Shares Her Russian-Jewish Immigrant Family Stories Through Music, Dance, and Love
Sandy Simona is an Interdisciplinary, Multimedia Artist & Storyteller who grew up on both sides of the George Washington Bridge. Now based in Los Angeles, Simona has created LOST IN LVOV, an emotional solo performance-storytelling-love letter inspired by the most private, immigration stories of her family. Like many Russian-Jewish families who left The Soviet Union before and after Perestroika, as a first generation American, Simona has a unique perspective on what is means to be living with one foot in the Old World and the other in Modern America.
Never having visited the city of Lvov, Ukraine, the place lives in Simona's American dreams through the shared stories from previous generations of her family, most notably her grandmother and mother. In LOST IN LVOV, Simona tells the tale of how her family reinvented themselves in America while their memories and past lives still wander the hidden streets of Lvov and flavor their souls as well as their food and family life.
The play is a true celebration of life through music, dance, and emotional remembrances of first loves and loves lost, dreams and hard knocks with pre-show and post-show music performed by Jacob & Julia from Paris Chansons who sing classic songs in Russian and Yiddish and inspire Simona's wild and wonderful singing and dancing,
The stories in LOST IN LVOV encompass a time capsule of memories, secrets and most precious experiences of the three Belman sisters who immigrated to America from the U.S.S.R. Their memories left behind- implanted in pockets and shelves of their minds, burned into memories of photos they set on fire and smuggled in their hearts to their new homes, with Soviet trinkets and recipes they passed down to their grandchildren. Intimate winks and glimpses of their past lives wander in throughout the show in a non-linear pattern, sharing how they reinvented themselves in America.
Simona recalls her families' faces, sacrifices and stories while musing on what it means to be a daughter of one of the last Eastern European immigrant generations, much the same as this writer. Simona shares watching the generations of women (and men) in her family unravel, blossom, break apart, fall in and out of love, lose life to illness, inspiring her to capture these moments of humanity and weave them into a musical adverture of brave souls following their dreams.
The stories are interwoven with breaks of dance and music at any moment, when words can no longer express emotion and time stops. It is at those points that Simona transforms and allows joy and love to dance merrily from her soul.
Simona is taking the show to the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row Studio in New York City this November. Surely members of her family that still live in the area will flock to the show, as should everyone else in the area!
Watch a video slip of the show: