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Monthly Archives: July 2011

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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Wow! Sitting down to write my thoughts on Heidi Van’s window play “Rubble” with original music by Peter Lawless was just that. After watching this amazing blend of dance, performance art, and music I was left breathless. THIS show is what Fringe is about: the delicate flow of story driven by the ethereal melodies that were weaved between the choreographed movement of the masked beings and slice of life surreal performance of the actors behind the window created a stunning work of art.

Watching the actions of Andy Perkins and Coleman Crenshaw as they performed the almost cog and gear actions of their “Daily Grind” behind the window was not only comical at times and a commentary on day to day life, but also a revelation on how sometimes something small can cause us to see the world in a brand new way. When Perkins’ character had that moment of realization and found his new world outside of his normal grind, he shows us the intrigue and curiosity of what ifs and how nows, as Crenshaw keeps ticking away only to get more ticked as his counterpart changes their normal rhythms.

While all this is happening behind the glass windows, masked beings strive and struggle to keep going, to survive and rebuild, to collect the pieces of lost hope and broken dreams. I have too few words to describe their actions: the heart only feels for them, not vocalize. When they move, they show the strain of the burden, the confusion of what to do next in an ordered timed stride. Watching the dance and pantomime of these performers left me breathless and as distracted as Perkins trapped behind the glass.

And then, Read More »