For author and performer Lorna Landvik, the new year means that it's time to invite people to her "rec room," mix a few margaritas, and create a show on the spot for her audience. Yep, it's time for Party in the Rec Room to return to the Bryant-Lake Bowl.
"The goal is sheer fun for me, and that's what I hope I give the audience. I make the margaritas onstage -- that's always a plus -- and then perform monologues based on suggestions that the audience gives me."
Landvik, whose books include Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons and Patty Jane's House of Curl, also has a long history in improv. She worked with Dudley Riggs's Brave New Workshop, along with other groups in the Twin Cities and California.
Performing a solo show is a bit like going out without a net. "You don't have any improv partners to take it in a different direction than you expected, but you also don't have anyone to pick up the slack," she says.
With suggestions in hand, Landvik heads backstage to prepare. There, inspiration can come from the props she brings along. "My mind is like a cartoon, all cogs and wheels, spinning manically as I think of what I will do. Sometimes, it comes when I just grab something, like a blonde wig or a sailor's hat," she says.
Some characters come back year after year, though always in a brand-new monologue. "They've gotten into my play pen," Landvik says. "I always end the show with a specific character, and people have told me it is their favorite character ever. She's inspired by a reading of a fairy tale from an old phonograph record I heard years ago on Garrison Keillor's morning program."
Landvik sees her writing and performing as two different worlds, though "I really want to know about people and how we work, what we think. There's also the realization that we are all in this together, however strange and weird and goofy we might be. I think a curiosity factor fuels the characters onstage and in my writing. I want to make discoveries in both."
On the writing front, Landvik recently completed her latest work, and is hard at work on another. She loves both parts of her creative life, though they often fulfill different needs. "I like to be in front of people and I love the immediate response that you get when you are onstage. I love the quiet and solitude of writing too. I'm glad I get the balance."
IF YOU GO
Party in the Rec Room
7 p.m. Saturday, Fridays and Saturdays through the rest of January
Bryant-Lake Bowl 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
$15 and $18
For information, call 612.825.8949 or visit online