Kevin Kling

When we called up Kevin Kling to talk about desert islands, we weren’t too surprised when the conversation turned to ice fishing. After all, this mysterious, frigid pastime has come up often in the work of the Twin Cities’ consummate storyteller. While Kling is Minnesotan to the core (he also squeezed in a Sven and Ole joke), he had a pretty Zen outlook on the whole idea of being deserted on a tropical island. “I’ve never been bored in my whole life, so I’m not worried about entertaining myself,” he said. Then the story began: “To me, being on a desert island isn’t so different from ice fishing. You can just sit and think for long periods of time without any guilt associated with it. I was in the Australian Outback in the eighties, hanging out with these aborigines, who I thought weren’t going to get Minnesota at all. But they really loved my ice fishing stories. And I realized that there’s a camaraderie in that form of isolation. Whether you’re sitting in the middle of a lake or the middle of a desert, there’s something universal about being at peace with long periods of thought.” This man is clearly ready for his Gilligan moment, and here’s what he’d bring:

1. Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and Sid Hartman. I wouldn’t enjoy being stranded with these guys, but just think of the good that would befall the rest of the country! It would be my civic duty.

2. My partner Mary and our two dogs—wait, there’s three dogs now. And along with them would be leftovers from Lucia’s, where we had dinner just before we got on the plane that dropped us on the island.

3. Some really practical stuff: A cotton swab, a bobby pin, hairspray, chewing gum, a sailor hat, and MacGyver—he could get us out of there the cotton swab and bobby pin.

4. Don Quixote. That’s got pretty much everything in it, and at one point Sancho gets his own desert island, so I could read about that. I’d definitely work on my own writing, too. I’ve got a lot of things I could iron out.

5. What about five surprises instead of five things? There’s a lot of creative potential there. Like in Castaway when Tom Hanks has to figure out what to do with the things he finds on the island. Or when Lynne Rossetto Kasper gets five ingredients and has to make a meal with them. It’d be neat if I landed on the island and there were five things that I didn’t know would be there. To me, that feels like storytelling.

Kevin Kling’s new play, Freezing Paradise, is at the Guthrie Lab October 19–November 6; 700 First St. N., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224; www.guthrietheater.org