Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany Ingrid Garner based her one-woman show on her grandmother Eleanor Ramrath-Garner’s first-hand accounts about an American-born girl living in Berlin during the Nazi regime and throughout World War II.
Garner plays all the roles, everyone from her strict parents and teachers to her smark-alecky older brother. Over the course of the hour, she transports the audience from New Jersey to Berlin and back. She describes the horrors of war in terrifying detail and demonstrates them in her movements and emotional facial reactions.
Garner is a theatrical wizard, seamlessly weaving between characters and using only chairs, cups, and a chest to help her tell this epic story. Watching her is like attending a master class on what a one-person performance can be. She physicalizes everything from tree-hugging to clear and precise interactions with people. And she delivers lengthy dialogue with clarity and grace.
Eleanor’s Story has been traveling the world and is finally here, in San Diego, where Eleanor Ramrath-Garner resides. She will attend the remaining performances. In effect, Ingrid Garner depicts the true story, on stage, while the one who lived it could be seated next to you.
Baby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People In this one-person show, Mariah MacCarthy recounts the story of her becoming pregnant, going to term while living in New York, giving birth, and eventually giving a baby boy up for adoption.
A gay couple adopts Leo, the baby boy. MacCarthy contacted them through an agency. But because it was an open adoption, she can see him periodically throughout his life.
Part confessional and part burlesque, Baby Mama is both a historical account and an open letter to her son, encouraging him to be happy in knowing that he is loved.
It is also brutally truthful, but in ways both refreshing to hear and educational. MacCarthy goes into detail about experiences with everything from orgies and excrement, but she never at any point loses her intimate connection with the audience. She maintains an atmosphere that is conversational and honest.
Baby Mama contains adult language, mature subjects, and may not be suitable for young audiences. For the mature theatergoer, however, MacCarthy’s story is charming and touching: lighthearted at times, heart-wrenching at others, and is not to be missed.