Lisa Kron shares two separate but related stories in her one-woman show, 2.5 Minute Ride. With an easygoing, accessible style, Kron engages the audiences from the start, as she gives account of two trips involving her father. The emotion and significance of a trip with her father to Auschwitz, where his parents perished, balances with the humor of a present day family trip to an amusement park.
Kron spent six years in the creation of this work, which began with the goal of telling the story of her father's life. Using the device of a slide show, Kron is looking back on the two trips and telling the story, in some cases acting it out, as well as discussing the idea of creating a video account of her father's life. The abruptness of the changing of the slides (Click - "Okay. This is my father's hometown...") allows her to switch quickly between the stories, which are less an interweaving than a juxtaposition of pieces of both scenarios. There are no real pictures in the slides, but the rectangle of light that represents the "screen" changes color as Kron goes from image to image in her account. She creates pictures herself with rapid narration and natural, colorful commentary.
As Kron and her father get closer to Auschwiz, the story of riding roller coasters with her father (a "seventy-five-year-old, blind, diabetic Holocaust survivor with a heart condition"), documented by a videographer and accompanied by her partner, Peg, becomes more droll. The pace of the show continues quickly until the emotions build to the arrival at the crematorium in Auschwitz. We are experiencing how she felt about being in this place with her father, the place where his parents - her grandparents - met their horrific death along with thousands of others. Kron "thinks out loud" as she deals, as if the first time, with these emotions.
The success of this show can be attributed to the unique staging and the engaging and genuine personality of Lisa Kron. 2.5 Minute Ride is a richly enjoyable production, a memorable 75 minute ride.
2.5 Minute Ride runs through February 8 at the main stage of Pittsburgh City Theatre. For tickets and performance information, call 412.431.CITY or visit www.citytheatrecompany.org.