Virtual Theater Review: 2.5 MINUTE RIDE (Studio Theatre, D.C.)

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by Tony Frankel on May 27, 2021

in Theater-Regional,Virtual


Who knew a trip to Auschwitz could be so much fun? Almost as fun as taking a roller coaster ride at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. These two locations have been tethered together by playwright Lisa Kron into a memoir about her ailing father and the family visits to both of these sites. Very much in the tone of Kron’s work in the musical Fun Home, in which a lead character — a middle-aged lesbian — tries to piece together moments from the past into a cohesive whole, this autobiographical tale has Kron traveling with her German-born papa — one who escaped Nazis by coming to America — to both crematoriums and thrill rides.

It’s perfectly suited material for a one-woman show, which is playing virtually from Studio Theatre in D.C. Filled with pathos, and (thankfully) a lot of humor and neurosis, the astoundingly watchable actress Dina Thomas plays Lisa for 75 thoroughly entertaining minutes that pay tribute to Kron’s style of writing, which demands character and rumination over trying to make a point. Thus we are on discovery with Lisa, her crazy Jewish family, her lover — and that Kennedy-esque family she comes from — and the spectrum of experience that travels from absolute pain to absolute joy. In an empty theater, Lisa is taping herself while showing off intentionally blurred slides from two trips — one to the concentration camp where her grandparents were murdered; the other to a theme park and the powerful roller coaster that her near-blind dad adores, even if it may give him a mild episode of, ya know, heart attack.

While I am left with a powerful story, I was most taken with Thomas’s incredibly adroit and riveting performance, aided by Joanie Schultz’s direction, which allows us to watch Ms. Thomas in the empty Studio Theatre from many different angles, even on a split screen (videographer Wes Culwell). Magnetic, authentic, and organic, it would be impossible to take my eyes off of her even if this wasn’t a one-woman play.

photos courtesy of Studio Theatre

2.5 Minute Ride
streaming from Studio Theatre in Washington D.C.
ends on June 6, 2021
for tickets, visit Studio Theatre

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