ON STAGE: Norristown’s Theatre Horizon to present ‘2.5 Minute Ride’

Leah Walton
Leah Walton SUBMITTED PHOTO

IF YOU GO

“2.5 Minute Ride” will be on stage Oct. 6 through 29 at Theatre Horizon, 401 DeKalb St., Norristown. Tickets are $15 - $35. For more information, call 610-283-2230 or check theatrehorizon.org

It’s been quite an excursion for Leah Walton. The award winning actress has been challenged and exhilarated while preparing for her role in Lisa Kron’s acclaimed one-woman play, the dramatic and amusing “2.5 Minute Ride.”

“The play is a challenging piece,” Walton said. “It goes into some pretty dark and treacherous places.”

The poignant play, which makes its Philadelphia area premiere Oct. 6 at Theatre Horizon, is about a Jewish woman connecting with her septuagenarian father. The play centers on two very different trips. The father and daughter travel to an Ohio amusement park and six years earlier they visit the Auschwitz concentration camp, where her grandparents were killed.

“There is nothing like this play,” Walton said. “When I found out that I was going to be doing “2.5 Minute Ride” I was so excited. Lisa Kron is a very funny writer and a great storyteller. She’s unique. She understands that humor gives us permission to stay alive when we are going through difficult parts of our life.”

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Kron, a three-time Tony Winner, deftly guides the audience from the thrills of Cedar Point, the iconic amusement park just outside of Cleveland to the chills of Auschwitz in Southern Poland. It’s difficult to pull off but she connects both sides.

“I don’t know of many people that could have made this work but Lisa just nails it, Walton said. “It’s a tremendous, provocative play. It’s not easy bringing levity to the Holocaust. Lisa nails the mood. The play was written during the late ‘90s. The world is a very different place but the material is still resonant 20-years later. The material certainly stands up.”

Walton, who is a Barrymore winner, knows theatrical material. She is a staple in local productions since she moved to Philadelphia in 2004. Walton also teaches theater at Temple University.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to support myself doing various kind of theater work over the years,” Walton said. “What I love about being an actor in Philadelphia is that there is tremendous camaraderie in this area. Everyone champions each other. It’s a theatrical playground, I’ve gone from a comedy to a drama to a children’s play. Diversity is a great thing. And we get great material here. Being able to perform in a Lisa Kron play like “2.5 Minute Ride” is amazing. The play really takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s deep, funny and unforgettable.”