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"2.5 Minute Ride" at Altered Stages

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Electric Pear Productions Presents:
(Electric Pear Website)

2.5 Minute Ride
By Lisa Kron
Featuring: Nicole Golden
Directed by Matt M. Morrow

Set Design by Mark Erbaugh
Lighting Design by Gina Scherr
Sound Design by Amy Altadonna
Production Stage Manager: Andrea Dionne
Graphic Design: Mac Premo
Assistant Director: Erik Andrews
Press Representative: Rick Miramontez, O&M Co.
Assoc. Producer: Melanie Sylvan/Electric Pear Productions

Altered Stages
212 West 29th Street

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 30, 2008

I would have liked to see Lisa Kron, author and actor, perform in this one-woman work that she so poignantly crafted to juxtapose a 2.5 minute roller-coaster ride, that she took with her Holocaust-survivor father, against a trip to Germany and Poland to see the death camps, namely Auschwitz, where her grandparents were murdered. This autobiographically based play is so relevant to Ms. Kronís psyche, that her 1999 performances must have been outstanding. In the current production, Nicole Golden takes the stage, with perfectly honed German and Ohio accents. She is energetic, versatile, and persuasive; at once heartbroken and woeful, droll and satirical. Yet, we know she is the actor as the character, not the actual character, who lived through these immensely stirring life events.

Ms. Golden stands onstage with little else, other than a slide screen and blank colored light, which morphs in our minds from a map of Germany to a photo of her home. At the time, I wished the screen had been filled with related graphics, something more tangible. But, on reflection, it was better left to our imagination. Ms. Golden assumes a flawless German accent, quoting her almost blind father, as he takes the family on a vacation to an amusement park in Ohio, from their home in Lansing, Michigan, and he surprisingly loves the ride. She quotes herself, as well, with her fear for her fatherís heart condition and the swelling of emotions on the journey. Thereís also a swelling of sarcasm, the restaurants along the Ohio road trip, the ride itself, the family dynamics.

Ms. Golden hops about the stage, from Germany to Ohio, from Midwestern to German accents, and then back to the slide screen. I found this fragmented monologue somewhat confusing and unsettling, but Ms. Golden handled the physical and linguistic challenges with aplomb. The most memorable segments related to the slow journey to the site of Auschwitz. I personally took a similar journey years ago to the site of Dachau, and I was struck at the similarity of experience, the sense of hollow horror, the chilling realities presented, like a museum of Hell, the visual imagery that remains forever.

What I found difficult, in this production, was Ms. Kronís back and forth of humor and pathos, when it seemed appropriate for one continuous story, just at this juncture. And, most difficult was the inappropriate audience giggling (made worse by open cell phones), right at the edge of a tale of torture. Perhaps Ms. Kron, in the original production, was able to guide her audienceís reaction with signals and timing of delivery, so they understood what was and what was not a joke. This was not Colbert. This was Auschwitz. Yet, the overall concept of 2.5 Minute Ride is a new twist on the autobiographical one-actor show. The concept of two different journeys merging into one personal memory is exceptional and effective.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at