See below for the description of the woman who reads passages aloud in a Masterpiece Theatre voice. It reminded me of a woman (sadly, now deceased) who would read aloud from that month's book, sigh loudly, and tell us she had gone to great lengths to find the book in French or Russian so she didn't miss anything in translation...
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Rachel Jacobsohn, who literally wrote the book on book clubs -- The Reading Group Handbook-- estimates there are now more than a million literary discussion groups meeting regularly in this country, from the oldest one in Chautauqua, N.Y., to the one your officemates started this morning. Given that you can't swing a library card without hitting somebody in a book club, the most surprising thing about "The Book Club Play" is that no one thought of it before. Karen Zacar¿as's new comedy, which runs through March 2 at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, should make every book lover laugh (and cringe) with recognition. Zacar¿as includes all the reading-group regulars: the aging jock who never reads the book, the mousy woman who's too shy to say what she really thinks, the African American who's invited because she's "full of diversity," the (barely closeted) snob who drones on about his literary insights, and especially the queen bee, who reads passages in her Masterpiece Theater accent and tries to control the group with ever more maniacal schemes. They're all here in this zany collection of staccato scenes that take place in various living rooms during the club's final, disastrous year.
As you might expect, area bibliophiles have been drawn to this play like bookworms to paper. Round House marketing and public relations manager Sarah Pressler says at least 60 book clubs have bought blocks of tickets to see the show.
It's a great reminder that the Washington area is packed with active reading groups. And we'd love to hear from you: Tell us about the book that sparked your group's best discussion. We'll make a list of the titles and post it on our Web site with your comments. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put "My Book Club" in the subject field. Include your city and tell us how long your group has been meeting.
-- The Editors