Book of Days

Submitted by Markydoodle October 29th, 2013
Certifikitsch Winner

The Missouri Ozarks are steeped with history and rich with character.  With each visit I find a tug to stay. I can’t tell if it’s because of the stories I might find to write about, or the fact that I have hillbilly genes that I will never escape no matter how uppity I try to act.  Part of my family came from here (the Missouri Ozarks) to Nebraska when the Native Americans were still roaming the plains, and I  would be proud to be a descendant of Sky Chief, the last Chief of the Republican Branch of the Pawnee.  Who knows.  I think any guy that has the same name as a premium gasoline is an automatic legend.

No one ever told me there was a town named Sleeper, Missouri.  I stumbled upon it today.  The town itself was not remarkable, in that it was like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland:  there was no there there.  But the Methodist Church stands proudly over Interstate 44, as if to say, “Come, in This Desert Place, Rest Awhile.”   It does beg the question why the book “The Highs and Lows of Meth” was written where this part of Missouri was cited as “the kitchen chemistry capital of the United States.”  In fact, in the mid-2000’s, there was roughly one meth lab for every 2,000 Missouri residents.  Okay I’m joking, it’s all good now, and been cleaned up.  Now they’re back to white lightening.  It’s fun!

This place called Sleeper, Missouri, is very close to Marshfield, Missouri, and a group of small towns which is the setting of a play named “Book of Days” by a Mr. Lanford Wilson, which I truly enjoy.  I always think about the play as I drive through this area.    I was in this show, and played Len Hoch (rhymes with Coke,)  the Cheese Factory Manager from the small town in Missouri in which it was set.  Community Theater is terrible therapy by the way, don’t do it unless you are willing to enter and exist in a vapid suckhole.  Maybe it’s funner in the Ozarks.  Things are just different there!

7 Responses to “Book of Days”

  1. Allee Willis

    Such an insane name for a Church, though appropriate for what my activities would be at a service held within.

    When “Book Of Days” comes to Sleeper book me a couple tickets. Especially if you’ll be playing Mr. rhymes-with-Coke. I’m an expert at Sleepering through plays.

  2. Mark Milligan

    There was a scene where I was supposed to romantically describe the different varieties of cheese and the director told me I sounded like I was auditioning for voice over work for cartoon characters. Otherwise I was pretty much critically acclaimed. Haha! I refused to change it because the guy was a cartoon character. I knew during rehearsals when I yelled “line!” and we were just introducing ourselves I probably wouldn’t fit in.

  3. Mark Milligan

    I try to explain it first. You know, set the scene. On the plane today I said to the people sitting next to me, “okay just so you know, when I let a couple rip, it’s just for fun, I had sauerkraut on that spicy dog down at the bus station, it’s going to be great, really!”

  4. Mark Milligan

    Also, my apologies to Mr. Wilson for calling Len Hoch a cartoon character. You know it was me that was the cartoon character trying to play a real person. Very hard to do when one is concentrating on being three dimensional. I loved doing the play. I just found an extraordinary truth in the words he wrote, so level set and familiar. It scared hell out of me to conjure up a dark side when I was asked for the part, and get angry with the leading lady. I didn’t want it to seem so real inside. We spend our lives attempting to avoid conflict and danger. I would submit we have the DNA to rise from within us the most basic fundamental senses of man, no matter how insular we have morphed our society to become. And a safe place to find those senses is the theater.