‘Book Club Play’ leaves you weak with laughter

Flip Wingrove, Contributor
Posted 10/10/17

With the help of a clever, provocative script and a talented, well-prepared cast, Key City Public Theatre’s Sunday-evening performance during the first weekend of “The Book Club Play” brought …

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‘Book Club Play’ leaves you weak with laughter

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With the help of a clever, provocative script and a talented, well-prepared cast, Key City Public Theatre’s Sunday-evening performance during the first weekend of “The Book Club Play” brought rounds of laughter and applause from a full house.

The plot revolves around the decision of a home-based book club to allow an overhead video camera to record everything – warts and all – during all of its meetings.

The ultimate goal is a professional movie demonstrating a typical feature of Americana, a private book club. As this project unfolds, the cast of six club members reveal a full spectrum of human characteristics – vanity, compassion, weakness, contradictions, greed – and hidden strengths.

As the play moves forward, energized by the humor of the snappy dialogue, each character proves to be a unique, dynamic personality, as different points of view create constant friction.

After the audience grew weak with laughter, the story relaxed a bit to examine other considerations about the literary scene, such as why we should read some kinds of books, but not others.

This provoked some thought, but the versatile actors maintained the pace to keep us engaged and on our toes.

During one conundrum, they had me wondering, “What would Hemingway have done?” All of East Jefferson County has a wealth of book clubs, and members of these will no doubt recognize many of the dynamics, problems and rewards that result from such memberships.

The play was written by the award-winning Karen Zacarías. The cast of Jennifer True, Brenda Nascimento, Eric Newman, Crystal Eisele, Dylan Carter and Tom Challinor worked as a well-oiled team, at times delivering rapid-fire dialogue without stepping on each other’s lines, and projecting their voices to the last row of seats.

The director is Brendan Chambers, this season’s artistic apprentice. The stage set, designed by Terry Tennesen, depicts a bright, modern, upscale living room, with plenty of loaded bookshelves that provide fodder for the book lovers as they pick up and thumb through their latest volumes of interest. Rachel Salzman is stage manager, Maggie Jo Bulkley designed the costumes, and Albert Mendez is lighting designer.

The overall quality of this production is probably setting a new standard for KCPT, at least in the area of humor.

The rest of the run for this play is nearly sold out, but extensions have been added at least through Oct. 22.

Flip Wingrove has lived in Cape George for 20 years with his wife and lifetime partner, Ida. After an international career writing flight-test reports for a variety of airplane companies, he has put his left brain into reserve and energized his right brain to sample creative writing. Among other things, this has resulted in a number of plays produced locally and elsewhere, as well as contributions to The Leader and other peninsula publications.

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