The theatrical monologue can be an amazing experience. One person on a stage, with little in the way of props or sets, can carry a crowd anywhere the performer chooses. This convention can bring mighty figures from history to life, as Hal Holbrook has done for decades with Mark Twain Tonight or Julie Harris does for Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst. In Julia Sweeney's God Said Ha!, the actor can dissect the adult child's relationship with her parents as the family gathers to deal with her brother's cancer treatments. Eric Bogosian and Spalding Gray turn their whole lives into long monologues-in-progress. The format is perfect for the big stories as well as the personal tales.
Lisa Kron's one-woman show 2.5 Minute Ride covers a lot of ground. Kron tackles the big issues of racial hatred and man's inhumanity toward one another. She also covers the personal problems of dealing with those uncomfortable family relationships. Taking the form of a slide show of family pictures, the monologue starts back home in Lansing, Michigan. Over the course of some 70 minutes, Kron takes her audience along on a trip to an Ohio amusement park to ride the gut-wrenching roller coasters, to her brother's very orthodox Jewish wedding in Canarsie, then on a journey through Poland with her father, culminating in a visit to the concentration camp where her grandparents were murdered. This acclaimed comic storyteller tells insightful and often hilarious tales, mixing family gossip with brutal honesty about the human condition.
Kron has a way with titles. Her previous Drama Desk Award-nominated show was called 101 Humiliating Stories. She has been writing and performing monologues for more than 15 years now, and her work has been performed in New York, Los Angeles, London and on tour throughout the U.S. She is also an Obie award-winning co-founder of the long-running company The Five Lesbian Brothers.