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Michelle Levy and Patrycja Dołowy. Photo: Jason Francisco for Festivalt, Krakòw, June 2019

Project history: 

The early life of this project began with Michelle Levy's She is alone (2017), a performance-lecture that bridged Michelle's quest into her grandmothers' past in Poland with the discovery of Paulina's testimony. "She is alone," the English translation of the Polish sama, refers to Paulina, Michelle's grandmothers, and all women whose voices and stories have been silenced or misplaced. 

In the fall of 2018, Michelle relocated to Poland to research Paulina's text and plan a journey with Patrycja following Paulina's story. PAULINA (2019-2020) – the multimedia performance co-created by Michelle and Patrycja – centers around the life-changing experience they had on the road together.

The newest chapter, a hybrid non-fiction film, picks up two years after Michelle's return from Poland when she finally understands what she needs to do to complete the story.


The 2018/2019 research and engagement in Poland was developed in cooperation with POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, with research support by the Archive and Genealogy Departments of The Emmanual Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw; and Festivalt, Krakow, which hosted PAULINA as its 2019 Project-in-Residence. The project has been made possible through grants from Asylum Arts, New York; the US Embassy, Warsaw, Poland; Brooklyn Arts Council fiscal sponsorship, and donations from 90+ individuals. PAULINA is currently a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Research-and-process presentations have been hosted by 

  • Asylum Arts (New York) 2018; 

  • Apteka pod Orłem/ The Eagle Pharmacy, Museum of the City of Krakow 2019;

  • Craków Saltworks Museum (Wieliczka) 2019;

  • Festivalt (Kraków) 2019;

  • The Galicia Jewish Museum (Kraków) 2019;

  • Inicjatawa LWL (Włodawa) 2019; 

  • Instytut Teatralny (Warsaw) 2019;

  • JCC Warsaw 2018; 

  • Jewish Historical Institute (Warsaw) 2019;

  • Kana Theater (Szczecin) 2020, developed with and directed by Kathleen Amshoff;

  • La MaMa Galleria (New York) 2020, curated by Monika Fabijańska;

  • The Neighborhood and Union Docs (Brooklyn) 2022

  • POLIN Museum (Warsaw) 2019;

  • Public Library of the City of Wieliczka (Wieliczka) 2019.


*She is alone, was presented by NURTUREart, Brooklyn in 2017;  Festivalt, Krakow, 2017; and at The Center and Foundation for Contemporary Art, Prague, 2018. It's precursor, Ruins of Achelach was presented by Dixon Place, NYC (2016) and Theaterlab, NYC (2017). 

**Parts of the Paulina story are included in Patrycja Dolowy's book Skarby/ Treasures: Seekers and Guardians of Polish Jewish History, published by Czarne Press (in Polish), 2022.

PAULINA is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation of the Arts.

Donations, which go towards further development of the work, are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. 

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