Photo courtesy Kevin Kling
Kevin Kling brings back a holiday tradition for another round tonight, and will also host a signing of his book looking back at his playwriting career.
Kling's Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log has been a favorite for decades, starting its life as a show at the Jungle Theater before moving to the Guthrie.
"Every year, I put a different piece in it. It has changed a lot. Only one story remains every year, about going to my grandparents for Christmas," Kling says.
Along with tales from the popular storyteller, the evening also features a post-show signing for Kling's latest book and his various storytelling CDs.
The Minnesota Historical Society book On Stage with Kevin Kling compiles plays from throughout Kling's career, from early success 21A to the recent Scarecrow on Fire. Along the way, Kling also includes excerpts, lyrics, and notes on several other shows.
The chance to look back has been valuable.
"It feels like a different writer. I'm such a different person. What you lose in passion you gain in craft. There are passions I'll never have again, and there are things at that age you can't recapture. It's kind of like playing softball. You learn how hard you don't have to throw it. Every pitch doesn't have to be a fastball," Kling says.
The collection isn't complete by any means. "There are about two dozen plays that aren't in there, but they couldn't have picked a better representation of three decades of work," Kling says. "21A put me on the map. The Ice Fishing Play was a big change. There is a seriousness and darkness to it, but also a lot of humor."
Scarecrow on Fire was created via Kling's residency with Minnesota Public Radio. That has been a valuable piece to Kling's recent career, while also providing fresh challenges for the writer and performer.
Doing Yule Log and all of the other pieces, "has really heightened the sense of family. I think that one of the beauties of theater is you have created another family. Every time you see them, there is a sense of family from that project. You get to see everyone at their best and their worst. Everyone has a point where they are frustrated and when they nail it. It's where friendship is cauterized in that kind of heat," Kling says.
IF YOU GO:
Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log
7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16
818 S. Second St., Minneapolis
For more information and tickets, call 612.377.2224 or visit online.