By Ginny Masullo
TFW Contributing Writer
Mike Thomas could charm an audience simply by making faces and never saying a word.
When he features at the Ozark Poets and Writers monthly reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28 at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, he will be performing from one of his original monologues. That means there’s bound to be laughter and thoughtful smiles in the audience. Mike has a big bunch of talent. If you’ve never come across him, now’s the time to find out what you’ve been missing.
The 46-year-old actor, writer and teacher grew up in Fayetteville and migrated to Los Angeles, where for years he acted in film and television. Since moving back to Fayetteville, Thomas has developed and played the beloved character Cletus in the series of Dupont Christmas shows put on by Ceramic Cow Productions. Also part of Ceramic Cow, he is a member of a comedy improv group, the Phunbags, who perform monthly at the UArk Bowl.
Teaching speech, drama and history in the public schools, Thomas was commissioned by the Walton Arts Center to write a play about Arkansas history. “Digging Up Arkansas” is currently touring the state’s public schools. In addition, his monologues are published in several acting anthologies. He recently starred in the one-man show “Bigfoot Love,” which he co-wrote with Mark Landon Smith.
If the passing of summer is getting you down, Thomas’s one-man show will send you high and keep you laughing through the coming fall and winter. So come on down and join the fun.
The featured performance starts at 7:30 p.m. An open mic — at 7 p.m. and then again after the featured performance — is a vital part of the evening. Each open mic performer gets up to four minutes to read original works or verse written by others. OPWC has repeat open mic participants and welcomes new readers with open arms.
After the guest reader, a hat is passed to provide the guest a small stipend and to help fund future readings. The collective has been honored with donation of a new book of poetry every month from the University of Arkansas Press, and the raffle for the book is free. Often, featured readers offer their own books and chapbooks (and sometimes CDs and DVDs) for sale, autographed.
Founded in 1994, OPWC is a nonprofit organization devoted to the joys of the spoken and written word. For information, visit ozarkwriters.wordpress.com.
The mission of OPWC is to support and promote community involvement in Ozark literary arts, to encourage an appreciation of local writers by providing access to their work through readings, publications, workshops and other events and activities as demand and need become evident and to ensure that the experience of writing and reading remain a vital part of life in the Ozarks.