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Live Arts Theatre presents “The Book Club Play” July 12 to 27 at the Belfry Playhouse in Norcross. Back row, from left, are Scott Starkweather, Alison Lee Conroy and Justtyn Hutcheson. Front row, from left, are Sean Turner, Jordan Hermitt, Cat Rondeau and Rick Bragg.

The idea of a book club might conjure up thoughts of sedate behavior, but Live Arts Theatre’s upcoming play features characters who are “bound for pandemonium.” “The Book Club Play” is a comedy about books and what happens when friends start reading between the lines.

“I love every snarky comment my character makes,” said actor Rick Bragg.

Bragg is one of seven characters who belong to a book club which suddenly becomes the subject of a documentary film. Intimate discussions about life and literature take a turn for the hilarious when a camera lens is inserted into the group’s conversations. A provocative new member, along with some surprising new book titles, takes the group into unexpected situations.

“I love books!” Director Andre Eaton Jr. said. “I’ve had my nose stuck in books since I was very young, and to find a play that centered around reading was really interesting.”

The play also sparks an intriguing debate: Are “entertainment” and “enlightenment” mutually exclusive, or can a creative work be widely popular and still be considered “art” by critics?

Plenty of literary and pop culture references are sprinkled throughout the play, from “Moby Dick” and the “Age of Innocence” to “Twilight” and “The Da Vinci Code.” Is all art entertaining? Is any pop culture “art?”

“The show is very fast paced with lots of subtle humor,” actress Cat Rondeau said. “You have to pay attention, or you’ll miss a lot of funny references and sight gags. That being said, you don’t have to be familiar with every single book that is mentioned to enjoy the humor.”

“I think the best part of the show is the ensemble casting,” Eaton said. “I have an amazing group of actors that are bringing so much to these characters, and it is truly hilarious.”

“The cast has gelled in such an awesome way,” Rondeau says. “We have had so much fun working on this show together. We all genuinely like each other and get along so well even outside the theater.”

The cast includes Cat Rondeau, Jordan Hermitt, Alison Lee, Scott Starkweather, R. Chandler Bragg, Justtyn Hutcheson and Sean Turner. The production staff consists of Becca Parker (sets), Andrea Hermitt (stage manager), Dawn Davridge (costume design), Andre Eaton Jr. (lights as well as directing), Jeffrey Liu (sound) and Blair Sanders (props).

“Audiences can look forward to a really fun time at the theatre,” Eaton said. “The show is funny and proposes interesting perspectives regarding popular books and classic literature.”

“The Book Club Play” will be performed on weekends between July 12 and 27 at the Belfry Playhouse in Norcross. Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

The Belfry Playhouse is located at 3324 Medlock Bridge Road in Norcross Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $12 for LAT Members. They are available by calling 678-615-8392 or by visiting boxoffice@liveartstheatre.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@ mindspring.com.

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