note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey
Lisa Kron writes for the stage in a searing hybrid of “memoir” and “stand-up.” Her monologue, 2.5 MINUTE RIDE, about growing up in Michigan seamlessly blends the family’s wacky summer excursions to an Ohio amusement park with her brother’s impending marriage--and her father’s harrowing journey to Auschwitz to witness where his parents died.
The New Repertory Theatre’s production (thru Oct 24th) stars Adrianne Krstansky in a deft performance which clarifies what Kron only intimates in the play: That her father’s magnificent obsession with death defying rollercoasters is subconsciously grounded in the Nazi death camps. Kron takes us on a remarkable rollercoaster ride through hilarious family rituals (including that lovely wedding) right to the unspeakable horror that was Auschwitz. I can think of several plays about the Holocaust which fail to convey the depth of that horror but Kron uses her father’s failing eyesight and a sack of errant magnifying glasses to stop your heart cold in a brilliant metaphor for the terror.
At one point in the monologue, Kron reminds us that there could be people in the audience with first hand knowledge of the Holocaust. I wondered if they were distracted, as I was, by Krstansky’s distinctly different pronunciation of Auschwitz, (almost rhyming it with “sandwich”)…Also problematic for me: When we should be identifying with Kron’s revulsion for the Nazi motto “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work will make you free), we’re thrown by her saying “Arbeit Macht Fröh” (Work will make you “happy” instead of “free”). Granted these are small considerations given the power of director M. Bevin O’Gara’s immensely moving production.