“A significant addition to the Lanford Wilson canon . . . his best work since 5th of July. . . . Book of Days manages to combine Wilson's signature character-based whimsy with an atypically strong narrative book and politically charged underpinnings.” Chris Jones, Variety
Book of Days
978-0-8021-3741-8 • $13.00 • Paperback • Nov. 2000
Book of Days is the new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Lanford Wilson that makes us re-examine how we perceive the people we thought we knew best, and the threat posed by the religious right.
Reminiscent of Thorton Wilder's Our Town, Book of Days is about a small southwestern Missouri town confronted by a violent death and is forced to reconsider the world and values they thought they knew inside and out. Dublin, Missouri is dominated by three institutions: a cheese plant, a fundamentalist church, and a community theater. The Cheese factory is owned by Walt, who wants to keep the status quo and reap the profits from producing mediocre cheese for Kraft Foods. The plant manager, Len, has bigger plans. He wants to transform the part of the output into fine cheeses for a more refined clientele.
The play begins when a guest director, escaping Hollywood and on the run from the IRS, casts cheese plant bookkeeper Ruth Hoch, and Len's wife, as Joan of Arc in a production of George Bernard Shaw's St. Joan. When Walt, the owner of the cheese plant, dies mysteriously in a hunting accident and Ruth’s husband’s dreams of turning the plant into a gourmet cheese factory are threatened, Ruth is forced into action. Suspecting murder, Ruth launches a one woman campaign to see justice done. In doing so, she pits herself against the church and against the lascivious new owner of the cheese plant. Ruth, forced into heroism, gradually becomes the character she is playing onstage--crusading, single-minded, fearless Joan of Arc. In Book of Days, Lanford Wilson uses note perfect language to create characters that are remarkable both for their comic turns and for their enormous depth.