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By Robert Trussell at the KC Star

Van also directs a piece of her own creation — I’m not sure I can say she “wrote” it — called “Rubble,” which she stages in the Fishtank Performing Studio picture window as well as the sidewalk below.

This “non-verbal” play doesn’t tell a conventional story. But there is an elliptical narrative all the same. The piece begins with characters dressed in black appearing on the sidewalk and singing a rough-around-the-edges but gripping rendition of the gospel tune “Trouble of the World.”

In the window are two young men — actors Coleman Crenshaw and Andy Perkins — who seem to be living their lives on automatic pilot, vacantly switching channels with the remote, mechanically preparing tea. But as the black-clad figures return, now wearing surrealistic over-sized white masks, Perkins begins watching something through the window that he finds unsettling. At first he seems to be peering at the sky but eventually he’s watching the strange creatures on the the pavement.

Ultimately, he disappears from the window but later emerges onto the sidewalk to take his place among the strange masked beings.

No “synopsis” of this show really does it justice. But the live music — performed throughout by Peter Lawless, Katy Guillen and Katelyn Boone — is the glue that holds this piece together. The score, performed on guitars, keyboards and sax, is evocative, dreamlike and haunting. And it allows subtle interplay between actors and musicians that only serves to enhance the show.

To reach Robert Trussell, theater critic, call 816-234-4765 or send email to

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