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The Kansas City Star review of 53 Days and 52 Nights:

“Let’s just say up front that sitting in a chair on Wyandotte Street to watch a play enacted on the sidewalk and in a big picture window among First Friday’s milling crowds may qualify as an act of madness.

Yet, amid the ambient sounds of gallery gawkers, street musicians and the occasional barking dog, a whimsical little show called “53 Days and 52 Nights” works its will on attentive viewers.

Created by Heidi Van and Ingrid Andrea Geurtsen, two performers well versed in the art of physical theater, and directed by Damian Torres-Botello, “53 Days” is European clown show that mixes comedy, charm and poignancy in roughly equally proportions.

It’s a tale of two nameless clowns (Van and Geurtsen) who are barred from boarding a train by an officious station agent (Coleman Crenshaw) and then must wait 53 days and 52 nights for the next train. They share a couple of meager meals. They have odd encounters with clothing that seems to come to life (a hat for Van and a coat for Geurtsen). The short clown, Van, goes looking for water but comes back empty-handed.

Eventually the tall clown, Geurtsen, boards the train, leaving her friend behind. Just why the short clown decides to stay is unclear, but Geurtsen and Van have so successfully created distinct personalities that the tinge of sadness in the final moments is palpable.

The live music, which alternates between light-hearted and melancholic, performed by Peter Lawless (accordion) and Daniel Eichenbaum (clarinet), heightens the comedy and colors the poignancy.

This is the latest “window show” from the Fishtank Performance Studio, a nonprofit company in the Crossroads that definitely marches to its own drummer. Kansas City has become a dynamic theater town and this small organization, with its unconventional approach, helps explain why.”


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