When author, singer, former Texas gubernatorial candidate, and otherwise eccentric Kinky Friedman has the dominant quote on a book cover, you can pretty much bet the story will be a quirky one. This is the case for Washington, D.C.-based playwright Stephen Evans's debut novel, The Marriage of True Minds. It's the story of Nick and Lena, a Minneapolis legal power couple, both passionate and successful, and the wild ride that ensues after their marriage and professional affiliation goes down in flames. Nick doesn't take their marital and professional parting well, so he begins pulling elaborate and dangerous stunts to promote his militant animal-rights opinions. This puts Lena in the awkward position of explaining Nick's behavior, and cleaning up after him. After he fills the mayor's pool with live lobsters, Lena swoops in and saves him from jail and the psych ward by allowing him to live with her. Needless to say, the reunion is an unpleasant one. The conflict between Nick's unflappable passion and refusal to function within society's constructs, and Lena's devotion to her probably insane ex and co-worker crackles from the first page. Evans's dialogue is his strongest tool, as it reveals each character's nature in humorous and organic ways, and by the end, both characters' appeal and lifestyles are thoroughly engaging.
Sat., June 7, 7 p.m., 2008