In the intimate Masonic Owl Room at the Masonic Lodge as part of Gluttony, a simple set displayed a luggage case covered with a crochet doily, two chairs on either side and a screen behind showing visuals of an old house.
Haunting German music plays, presumably from WWII, the era in which Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hilter’s Germany takes place.
Based on the true story of Eleanor Garner’s childhood growing up in Nazi Germany, it recounts the shocking experiences suffered by Eleanor and her family when they move from New Jersey to Berlin at the height of Hilter’s regime. But what makes this story even more moving is that it’s performed by Eleanor’s granddaughter Ingrid.
A one woman show, Ingrid Garner is a powerhouse as she expertly flits between the characters of the family. The innocence of a 9-year-old Eleanor not understanding why the adults are so shocked at the radio announcements of war is juxtaposed with the hardness of her German mother, the pride of her American father and the bravado of her older brother. Brilliantly acted and fascinating to watch.
Being a war story there are uncomfortable truths told that left the audience gasping with horror, shaking their head with disbelief and tearing up at the unfairness of it all.
The struggles of poverty, hunger, fear of attack and the deaths witnessed by this family were heart-wrenching to say the least. The fact that these atrocities are happening to a young girl makes it more difficult to comprehend.
It’s a brave performance and an important one as so many lives have been impacted by war whether in the past or current.
***** Five stars.
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hilter’s Germany is showing at multiple locations throughout the Fringe season. Get your ticket here.