Allie Wittner rehearses for “2.5 Minute Ride” in Northampton.

Local actor showcases mix of humor, family, and the Holocaust in ‘2.5 Minute Ride’

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Local actor showcases mix of humor, family, and the Holocaust in ‘2.5 Minute Ride’

Allie Wittner rehearses for “2.5 Minute Ride” in Northampton.

Allie Wittner, who grew up in Marblehead and Salem, is starring in playwright Lisa Kron’s one-person show about her family’s history, “2.5 Minute Ride.” The performances, directed by Mary Beth Brooker, runs through Feb. 4 at the Academy of Music in Northampton.

Wittner, who uses they/them pronouns, first got into the performing arts while at Lisa’s Dance Studio in Marblehead. The theater bug really took hold in high school, thanks to their theater teacher Barbara Whitney, and since, Wittner has appeared on stages from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles.

“2.5 Minute Ride,” as Wittner describes it, is a show about “This person struggling with how to make material about this experience of going to Germany and then to Auschwitz.”

The autobiographical show explores the story of Kron’s father, who left Germany in 1937. Kron and her father take a trip to Germany together, during which they go to see Auschwitz in Poland (where Kron’s grandparents likely perished) – for the first time for both of them. The play oscillates between the Auschwitz trip, Kron’s Michigan family amusement park tradition, and her brother’s wedding.

“It touches on collective global grief,” Wittner said. “But also Jewish grief. It grapples with how to talk about the Holocaust without being one more extremely painful, graphic piece of material about the Holocaust. That question of ‘Does that actually serve us as Jews?’”

Wittner and Brooker have been working on the production since the fall. “She says, ‘This is what it looks like.’ And I say, ‘This is what it feels like,’” said Wittner. “It has been very collaborative.

“I think people these days are really trying to figure out what it means to heal a really big rift, a really big break, a really big tear in humanity,” they said. “And I think to come see this play is to get really close and personal to a big tear that impacted a family and when you get that close in, and that personal, the dimensions start to be clearer.”

“2.5 Minute Ride” runs at the Academy of Music in Northampton until Feb. 4. Tickets are available at aomtheatre.com, or by calling 413-584-9032, ext. 105.

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