A new Kevin Kling show is always something to be celebrated. For Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup, you have to move fast to catch it. His latest collaboration at Open Eye Figure Theatre plays only through Monday.
Kling merges relatable stories drawn from his life, and more metaphysical explorations -- sometimes within the same breath. This year, he uses the theme of music and sound to guide the tales, though that doesn't mean there isn't the occasional stray thought or path to be taken.
Helping him out in Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup are cellists Michelle Kenney and Jacqueline Ultan, who have long been a part of Kling's annual Open Eye show.
Kling and the musicians work together throughout. In the first major story, Kling describes his years as a member of the Osseo marching band, and a particularly epic trip to Milwaukee for a parade. There, the band fought with hot temperatures and a position behind a team of Clydesdale horses. The background music not only provided some extra punch to the telling, but even gave us snatches of the likes of "MacArthur Park" and "25 to 6 to 4" to bring the experience to life.
Kling can always bridge concepts and stories that seem unrelated into a cohesive whole. He also likes to switch from the mundane to the metaphysical on a moment's notice. That means ideas as divergent as a truth-telling harp, a vacation to Greece, and sitting on a boat on a lake at dusk soon after the death of his father can come together as an enthralling, moving whole.
This is a simpler creation than last year's Humanimal, which included more songs and even comedic scenes. That show felt overstuffed in the end, while Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup goes for a simpler setup that focuses our attention on the music of the cellos and of Kling's stories.
IF YOU GO
Hammer, Anvil, and Stirrup Through Monday Open Eye Figure Theatre 506 E. 24th St., Minneapolis $18-$20 For tickets, call 612.874.6338 or visit online.