When Art Imitates Book Club

By Wendi Kaufman
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, February 15, 2008

A book club viewing a play about a book club? Art imitated life Saturday night when members of my club put away our books ("Nickel and Dimed") and took a field trip to the Round House Theatre in Bethesda to see "The Book Club Play."

It's clear Washington-based playwright Karen Zacar¿as has logged a few evenings of her own with a book club. In her witty play about a group of 30-somethings who invite a new member into their club, she captures the idea that book clubs are often about food, drink and socializing, and perhaps not so much about the book. Stylized like a documentary so that the characters know they are being watched, they deal with the introduction of a newbie, who may cause enough chaos to break their circle.

Zacar¿as proves to be a keen observer of people and their desire to connect with others through books. As many book clubbers know, when we turn reading, a solitary experience, into a social event, interesting situations arise.

In true book club fashion, a few members of my group (eight couples from Reston) shared a few surreal moments watching the all-too-familiar aspects of our own monthly gatherings playing out on stage. ("What do you mean you haven't read the book?")

The Book Club Play Round House Theatre 240-664-1100 Through March 2. $25-$60. The Book Club Play Round House Theatre 240-664-1100 Through March 2. $25-$60.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company