Book of Days: A Play in Two Acts

Front Cover
Grove Press, 2000 - Drama - 105 pages
5 Reviews
Acclaimed by Frank Rich as "a writer who illuminates the deepest dramas of American life with poetry and compassion," Lanford Wilson is one of the most esteemed contemporary American playwrights of our time. Nowhere is this more evident than in his latest play,Book of Days, which has won the Best Play Award from the American Theater Critics Association.Book of Daysis set in a small town dominated by a cheese plant, a fundamentalist church, and a community theater. When the owner of the cheese plant dies mysteriously in a hunting accident, Ruth, his bookkeeper, suspects murder. Cast as Joan of Arc in a local production of George Bernard Shaw's St. Joan, Ruth takes on the attributes of her fictional character and launches into a one-woman campaign to see justice done. InBook of Days,Lanford Wilson uses note-perfect language to create characters who are remarkable both for their comic turns and for their enormous depth. "Mr. Wilson's cosmic consciousness, intense moral concern, sense of human redemption and romantic effusion have climbed to a new peak." -- Alvin Klein, The New York Times; "A significant addition to the Lanford Wilson canon . . . his best work since Fifth 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 is lively storytelling by one of our best playwrights." -- Lawrence DeVine, Detroit Free Press.

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Review: Book of Days - Acting Edition

User Review  - Chambers Stevens - Goodreads

I got to be in on the casting of the first production of Book of Days. I was blown away with Lanford's script. But I think the more he worked on it the more watered down it became. Read full review

Review: Book of Days - Acting Edition

User Review  - Patty - Goodreads

I was able to understand it so much better after I was in the staged show. Read full review

About the author (2000)

Wilson was born in Lebanon, Missouri, and began to write plays while at the University of Chicago. In 1969 he helped found the off-Broadway Circle Repertory Company, becoming its chief playwright. He thus has had the rare opportunity to develop his craft in collaboration with a permanent company of actors and a theater where he could try out and, if necessary, revise his plays. Like The Hot l Baltimore (1973), which ran for 1,166 performances and set an off-Broadway record for a nonmusical, many of Wilson's plays are vaguely realistic in manner, emphasizing characters over plot, and featuring likeable misfits and deviants. Fifth of July (1978), Talley's Folly (1979), and Talley and Son (1981) are all about the Talley family of Lebanon, Missouri. Fifth of July, a Broadway smash hit, deals with people who were "burned" physically and psychologically by the 1960s but who can still dream of a democratic America. Talley's Folly, another Broadway hit, is an unabashed love story about the Jewish outsider, Matt, and the misfit of the Protestant Talley family, Sally. Talley and Son tells of the financial and other machinations of three generations of Talleys. This story of meanness and greed has often been compared with Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes. .Angels Fall (1982) concerns a group of people brought together in a mission in northwestern New Mexico by a nuclear accident. Although it seems at first that the play will comment on an impending apocalypse, its actual themes deal with daily questions: how to live and love, how to teach and learn, and how to find one's vocation. Burn This (1987) is the story of a young dancer, Anna, who is profoundly distressed by the death of her gay collaborator. Her life is transformed by the bizarre and explosive arrival of Pale, the dead man's older brother. Shocking, outrageous, and larger than life, the play presents Wilson's views on art, human sexuality, and love. It is a poetic and cataclysmic work in which art is seen as a sacrament, as an outward sign for inward, chaotic, and exhilarating truths. Burn This, which opened on Broadway in the fall of 1987, is Wilson's masterpiece. Lanford Wilson is a distinctly American playwright whose works reflect his roots in the Ozarks as well as in his adopted home, New York City. The esteem in which he is held is attested to by the respect of numerous critics and by the many awards he has received: a Vernon Rice Award, several Rockefeller and Guggenheim fellowships, the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award, Obies for The Hot l Baltimore and The Mound Builders (1976), and a Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1980 for Talley's Folly.

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