Something akin to a hardboiled crime novel meeting an earthquake of speculative chaos, The Rib from Which I Remake the World uses time period color and fantastical shadows to paint a darting tale of a small town and how it boils away, leaving just a few heads behind, ready for a fresh coat.
From the opening pages, this story proves its endearing qualities. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for hardboiled pulp and this fell right in line, though softer around the societal edges, it holds well with the tones perfected oh so many moons ago.
And then, almost out of nowhere, a man’s body comes apart and the fantasy trickles in before flowing and washing away all the initial sensibilities. The characters transform, suddenly filling endless gaps that were mostly unnoticed. Bits sprinkled in foreshadowing, but mostly the change occurs like starting a video and forgetting the surround sound was at maximum volume from the night before. The jarring effect of the change seeps throughout the story until everyone feels the connection and understands, or at least recognizes the need to follow, his or her part in the grand scheme.
There are freaks and monstrosities, a diabolical magician with seemingly limitless power and then there are the rubes, pegged away like tin ducks at the BB shooting range.
Insanity and gasoline fuel the frenzied finale alongside the meeting of minds that demanded eventuality. The fighting is secondary to the understanding and the remolding. This acts as a mostly insignificant bridge to the overall effect of the grand reveal.
Ed Kurtz writes with a strong voice and imagination befitting the calling. There were a few stuttering steps and flippant leaps in landscape, but little to detract from the overall vibe and entertainment of the tale. Come one, come all, this show is vivid, textured, colorful and worth the price of admission. It’s fun, strange and quick to engage.