Full Company Announced for Karen Zacarias' Comedy The Book Club Play

Sep 9, 2011
The Book Club Play

In her smart comedy The Book Club Play, D.C.-area playwright Karen Zacarías examines the intricacies of book clubs, with their unspoken rules, high-spirited debates and strong bonds formed when least expected. With an ensemble cast featuring Fred Arsenault, Ashlie Atkinson, Rachael Holmes, Eric Messner, Kate Eastwood Norris and Tom Story, this is Zacarías' second collaboration with Director Molly Smith at Arena Stage and is the first work of a Resident Playwright to be produced as part of their three-year residencies through the American Voices New Play Institute. The Book Club Play runs October 7-November 6, 2011 in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle.

"The Book Club Play is a 'Chinese box' of a play within a piece of literature, within a documentary, within people's lives," says Director Molly Smith. "Karen has managed to mention or utilize more than 30 books. This play is a crafty comedy about a book club that implodes; crafty because book clubs are almost a secret society-many people belong to them but you rarely know it about their lives. In some ways the theater is just one big book club."

In The Book Club Play, Ana is a type "A" personality living in a letter-perfect world: a husband who adores her, the perfect job and her greatest passion, Book Club. But when bizarre circumstances put her ideal book club under a magnifying glass, things begin to heat up and more truths are told than anyone bargained for. Zacarías brings Arena Stage the latest chapter of her comedy about life, love, literature and the side-splitting results when friends start reading between the lines.

"It's challenging to re-examine a comedy that you love, especially one like The Book Club Play that had a great popular response when it was first produced," says Zacarías. "Why mess with something that works for many people? But I knew there was something in the older script that did not fully capture the rich experience of being part of a good book club-the friendship, the food and the pleasure of talking about books."

The Book Club Play first opened at Bethesda's Round House Theatre and later played at the Berkshire Summer Festival in 2008. When Zacarías became an American Voices New Play Institute Resident Playwright in 2010, she decided to use some of the resources allocated to her through the Institute to continue working on the play. For more information about the Institute's playwright residencies, visit here.

Zacarías continues, "My residency at Arena gave me time and space to revisit, rethink and rewrite the entire play. With the support of Director Molly Smith and Dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke, I took the leap and made exciting and dramatic changes while keeping the original premise and inspiration intact. My goal is to make The Book Club Play more engaging by making it funnier, deeper and more resonant."

Tickets for The Book Club Play are $45-$85 subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. Tickets may be purchased online at www.arenastage.org, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C.