Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bella's Dream

It's no wonder that Dana Boll wanted to write a play about her grandparents' experiences during the Holocaust. Their story, like so many, is an inspiring and moving one. Bella and Raymond were young newlyweds in 1939 Poland when Bella had a dream in which her uncle told her they had to leave their home. They left the next day (she was pregnant at the time) and started on a six-year journey that included traveling through Siberia and Uzbekistan.

Bella's Dream is playing at Celemente Soto VĂ©lez Cultural and Educational Center through June 30. Boll plays herself and the action switches back and forth from Bella (Lisa Kathryn Hokans) and Raymond's (Jon-Michael Miller) story to Boll's father, Ronny (Bob Angelini), dealing with anti-Semitism in a present-day supermarket. Much of the text was taken from recorded interviews with Bella and Raymond and sometimes we get to hear these recordings. It would have been nice to have a few more of these, though the play is already a little too long and could use some tightening, especially in the second act. Boll also choreographed this "play with dance" and all of the most horrifying moments, such as when a group of women is shot, are told through dance, creating a powerful contrast between the beauty of the movement and the horrible moments being depicted. This play is clearly a labor of love for Boll and that makes it easy for the audience to love with Bella and Raymond as well.

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