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‘The Ice Fishing Play’ returns for the deep freeze

Here we are, enjoying our first “normal winter” in years. I was beginning to worry that all the tales of Frigidaire Minnesota and the land of slosh were just so much malarkey in the era of global warming.

But now a Minnesota winter has really arrived – and what better way to celebrate than to see “The Ice Fishing Play,” which opens Friday at Theatre in the Round.

Kevin Kling’s play is not a new one. It was written about 15 years ago and got raves when Kling performed it at the Humana Festival in Louisville, Ky., which to American theater is something like the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. From there it went to New York and elsewhere, where it was compared to a cross between “Grumpy Old Men” and “Fargo,” with tinges of “The Twilight Zone.”

As local theatergoers know, Kling has a wonderful way with storytelling and with creating edge-of-fantasy characters who are peculiar and endearing and somehow representative of the interesting people we wish we had encountered in our lives. “The Ice Fishing Play,” like many of his plays, brings characters together in a kind of nesting spot where they bounce off each other in strange trajectories.

The plot of “The Ice Fishing Play” is about the one that got away — except the lost quarry isn’t limited to things with gills and fins. A guy huddling over a hole in his fishing shack dreams about catching “The Big One,” but there are other elusive things there, too, such as the ghosts of his wife, brother, bait-shop owner and even a couple of missionaries.

Kling isn’t performing in the Theatre in the Round production, though he’s appearing in a show-and-tell after the performance on Jan. 18 (which is sold out). The play runs Fridays through Sundays until Feb. 1. For information and reservations, go here.

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