Eleanor’s Story is moving because it is of a childhood ravaged by World War II. The show is riveting because of Ingrid Garner’s extraordinary ability to manifest the characters and events involved.
While many Fringe goers come for light entertainment, there is a lot of satisfaction for finding a piece that offers deep authenticity and storytelling among all the circus, cabaret and burlesque. For an hour, we were transported to the world of a little American girl growing up in Hitler’s Germany, trying to make sense of events unfolding around her.
This one woman theatre piece made my list of things to see because I love true stories. Ingrid Garner has adapted the show from her Grandmother Eleanor’s autobiography. The story finds Eleanor and her family in pre-war America living an idyllic life that would soon be upturned by her father’s transfer to work in Germany, and the outbreak of World War II while they were en route.
Garner plays each of the characters in her family, plus a good many others, and imbues each with genuine and recognisable features, making it simple to follow the story. Her ability to affect inanimate objects was so expert that a wooden pole in the theatre could become an apple tree and a high backed chair could be the body of a young man, slowly dying.
I sat with my chin on my hand, entranced by the journey of the little girl to young woman as she faced challenges and wonders of growing up against a background of fear and trauma.
The small but very appreciative audience gave Garner a long round of applause, following which Garner shared some insights into her personal journey in creating the piece. We were all effected emotionally and honoured to have been a part of the sharing of Eleanor’s Story.
Offending Shadows & Ingrid Garner presents
Eleanor's Story: An American Girl in Hitler's Germany
Venue: The Stables | Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 23 – 30 Jan, 2015