Sandy Simona is a woman filled with introspective, exuberant joy that when voiced and sung aloud is infectious from the moment you walk into the house.
Lost in Lvov is a melodic slow burn of biographical remembrances and collective memories of things long awaited and yet to be fulfilled, suddenly exploded and turned wildly upside down and inside out. Imbued with immersive sadness, longing, bliss, ecstasy the stories of love are embroiled into a single, poetic and passionate affair of the heart.
Ms. Simona guides us through sensuality, sexual awakening, terrible loss, dreams of three sisters and above all the twists and turns of the real woman who is her feisty, bold, but secretly broken-hearted mother, exposing the deepest cavities of her soul and revealing her most inner emotions and truths.
This over-the-top, story is inventive and filled with abandon. From her mother’s description of her fat neighbor returning home from the army as the now transformed “not fat anymore” man who becomes Sandy’s father, and who writes poetry to her (mother) like Pushkin, to the desperate woman waiting for the vacuum cleaner salesman who takes the train from Manhattan to Brooklyn, to walks on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, Sandy offers a high-spirited, strung together, account of her family, emigrated from the Soviet Union, “where the moon came out to dance with the sun before it came down”, now settled in America.
A hilarious array of personalities including Sandy herself, (not so coincidentally named after Olivia Newton John’s character in Grease), Ms. Simona challenges us and invites us in through comedy, dance, gorgeous live music and word, divulging piece by piece her experiences growing up as a first generation Russian Jew, dating failures, artistic discoveries and the shame of watching her father, a former scientist in his home country, having to work as a greasy mechanic. Most of all she boils down the truth of her mother’s obsession to have Sandy succeed, in love and life: the dream of an academically brilliant student to become an Engineer but deliberately failed by the school for being a woman and a Jew.
This entire show thrives completely in the moment, is hot to the touch and exciting without relief. An exquisite experience.
Lost in Lvov was mounted for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2014 and has been part of the combined artform Producer’s Award ENCORE extended presentations. There are however, no more encore performances left in Los Angeles. And so we tearfully send this production on its way to New York City for the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row Studios.
Written, Directed, Choreographed and Performed by Sandy Simona
Live music by: Jacob & Julia Kanter, Endre Balgoh from Paris Chansons and Kassandra Kochoshis, Agrenta Walther