fter a day of rest, because apparently my showgoing muscles are a little atrophied, I managed to weasel out of work an hour early and beat feet back to Arts Court for a fresh bout of Fringing. Made it in time for the 5 o’clock show of ELEANOR’S STORY: AN AMERICAN GIRL IN HITLER’S GERMANY. A daunting title, to be sure, but the buzz on this one is pretty sweet and I wasn’t about to miss it. So in to the Odd Box I shuffled, for what turned out to be one hell of a journey.
From 2Hoots Productions and playwright and performer Ingrid Garner, Eleanor’s Story is the true story of Ingrid’s grandmother the better part of a century ago, from the early days of Hitler’s rise to power to the rather well-documented shitty ending that had. With a little visual aid from some projections, Ingrid brings us back to young Eleanor’s childhood growing up in a German-American household in the US of A, few cares in the world. Until Papa get a job back in Berlin that uproots the whole clan, which upsets Eleanor’s worldview more than enough…war breaking out mid-ocean voyage is just sort of the icing on the terrible, terrible cake. Before long Eleanor and her family are trapped in wartime Germany with no way out. You can imagine how well that goes.
Or, better yet, you could run screaming to the Odd Box and see what happens for yourself, because it is haunting and harrowing and unforgettable. Taking an extraordinary true life tale like Eleanor’s and bringing it to theatrical life is no small feat, and Ingrid Garner proves herself an absolute powerhouse in so doing. She brought me to tears multiple times, and I am in very real awe of her talent. The character she created on that stage will stay with me for a long, long time, and I’m pretty glad about that. This is powerful medicine, gang, and I really can’t recommend it enough. Plays at the Odd Box for the rest of the fest, tix available at the Ottawa Fringe website here. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin R (and Baby G)