Join us for a Virtual Gombin where Dana Boll will discuss her play, nearly 10 years after its premiere in New York City. Bella’s Dream is a play with dance inspired by the true survival story of Dana’s grandparents, Bella and Raymond Boll.

For a limited time, you can access the full production video here: Password: Gombin

Poland 1939. This is not your typical Holocaust story. A foreboding dream and a leap of faith leads an expecting newlywed couple on a journey away from their home of Gombin, Poland with no known destination. They start a family while on the run, landing in a Siberian gulag, the deserts of Uzbekistan and a DP camp in Germany, encountering Eskimos, Gypsies, and other prisoners/refugees during one of the greatest population displacements in human history. The story is set in and framed by the true tale of a present-day encounter in a Florida supermarket between a used car-salesman (Bella and Raymond’s son), a Kosher butcher, and a Neo-Nazi. These narratives weave together the past and the present, and ask questions about the transmission of trauma, the power of dreams, and the grace of humor in the face of adversity.

The supermarket setting highlights the importance of food in wartime, the commodification of people then and now, and parallels the chance encounters of strangers in town market squares and the modern marketplace. It is a quest, an exploration of one family’s mythology, and ultimately, a love story.

The text of the play is based on a series of spoken word interviews with family, enhanced by research of testimony of other Holocaust survivors and other personal resources. A dance/movement chorus dramatizes the unspeakable layers of the story and recordings from Bella and Raymond’s record collection serve as a soundscore.

“My grandmother had a dream that saved her life. It was 1939 in Gombin, Poland… she was pregnant with her first child. In this dream, her uncle came to her and told her to leave right away.”