Here at Two River Theater we love art, and we love talking about art. But we find that some of the most interesting and fruitful conversations arise when discussing two different works of art and how they relate to each other. Based on that principle, we started the Two River Book Club, in which we choose books that feel like they’re in conversation with the plays in our season, either in theme, context, or content. Join us for cookies and coffee and a lively discussion of the books, the plays, and whatever else comes up!
There is no cost to participate in Two River's Book Club. Books are for sale at the Two River Theater box office.
AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman
Monday, February 6 at 6:30pm
In this contemporary classic, we follow the taciturn ex-con Shadow. Adrift after his wife’s untimely death, he takes a job with a mysterious con man called Mr. Wednesday, who seems to know more than he should about Shadow. As they travel through the country meeting Wednesday’s strange friends, it becomes clear to Shadow that he is embroiled in no less than a battle between ancient gods and new American gods, all of whom are living among us. To tie in with our production of Hurricane Diane, we’ll discuss comedy, tragedy, and the legacy of ancient religions. There is no cost to participate in Two River's Book Club. Please RSVP if you plan to attend at 732.345.1400 or click here to reserve online.
SHAKESPEARE PLAY READING GROUP
FEBRUARY 27 & MARCH 6; 7PM
Two River will host our second Shakespeare play-reading group with The Merry Wives of Windsor. Led by Artistic Director John Dias, participants will read the full text of the play out loud, and discuss its language and meaning. No experience is necessary and copies of the play will be provided at each reading. The play-reading group will meet in the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Library; coffee, tea, and light refreshments will be provided. Admission is free; must reserve your tickets by clicking here.
TRUE GRIT by Charles Portis
Monday, June 19 at 6:30pm
Adapted twice into famous films, this 1968 novel is considered one of the greatest American Westerns. The story of Mattie Ross, a tough 14-year old girl who enlists a grizzled ex-Marshall with a reputation for violence to help her seek revenge on her father’s killer. Along with The Ballad of Little Jo, we’ll talk about the Western as a genre, the changing portrayal of men and women, and the dangerous allure of the frontier in art and life. There is no cost to participate in Two River's Book Club. Please RSVP if you plan to attend at 732.345.1400 or click here to reserve online.
ONE RIGHTEOUS MAN: SAMUEL BATTLE AND THE SHATTERING OF THE COLOR LINE IN NEW YORK by Arthur Browne
Sunday, October 9th – 6:00 PM
In this special Book Club meeting hosted by Two River Community Relations Liason Gilda Rogers, we will read Arthur Browne’s “One Righteous Man”, the story of the first African-American officer in the New York Police Department. Joining the force in 1911, Battle served for four decades, confronting racism both in the force and out and befriending everyone from Joe Louis to Eleanor Roosevelt. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Arthur Browne, the book’s author, will join us for this discussion on history, legacy, and race relations in a changing America, in conjunction with our production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
SHAKESPEARE PLAY READING GROUP
Monday, February 22 and 29, March 7 at 7pm Victoria J. Mastrobuono Library
This month, Two River launches our first play-reading group with Shakespeare’s Pericles, led by Artistic Director John Dias! No experience is necessary, and you are welcome to attend one, two, or all three weeks as we gather to read the play out loud and discuss its meaning. Copies of the play will be provided at each reading. This free event promises to be a fun and illuminating way for our community to explore the richness of Shakespeare’s play, with John as your guide through the text. The group will be meeting in the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Library, and we’ll serve coffee, tea and light refreshments.
Monday, February 22 at 7pm – Introduction to the play, reading and discussion of Acts 1 and 2
Monday, February 29 at 7pm – Reading and discussion of Acts 3 and 4
Monday, March 7 at 7pm – Reading of Act 5 and a special preview of Two River’s upcoming production.
There is no cost to participate. Please reserve your space, however, by calling the box office at (732) 345-1400, or click here to reserve online.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho to accompany PERICLES
Sunday, April 24 at 5:30pm (following the 3pm performance of PERICLES)
One of the bestselling books of all time and the Guiness World Record holder for the most translated book by a living author, "The Alchemist" has struck a nerve. The story of a young man who follows a prophecy around the world, it is a rare mixture of a quest novel, philosophy text, and spiritual guide. In conjunction with PERICLES, we’ll discuss literary journeys and how far you have to go to discover who you really are. FREE! Click here to reserve your tickets.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee to accompany I REMEMBER MAMA
Sunday, June 19 at 5pm (following the 3pm performance of I REMEMBER MAMA)
The beloved heroine of "To Kill a Mockingbird", Scout – now all grown up and going by Jean Louise – returns to her hometown in Alabama in this long-awaited prequel from Harper Lee. As she reconnects with friends and family, including her beloved father Atticus, she must reconcile her idealized childhood memories with the complicated people and political situations she is now seeing as an adult. In conjunction with I REMEMBER MAMA, we’ll discuss growing up and the complicated relationship between adult children and their parents, as well as America for insiders versus outsiders. FREE! Click here to reserve your tickets.
PAST BOOK CLUB EVENTS:
Stoner by John Edward Williams to accompany LIVES OF REASON
Sunday, January 17 at 5pm (following the 3pm performance of LIVES OF REASON)
"Stoner", the 1965 book The New Yorker called “the greatest American novel you’ve never heard of,” tells the story of William Stoner, a farm boy from the middle of America who becomes an English professor at a drab Midwestern university. Mired in university politics and facing the fallout from an affair with a fellow professor, Stoner finds the life of the mind isn’t any easier than the brutal farm work he grew up with. In conjunction with LIVES OF REASON, we’ll discuss the “academic bubble”, emotional freedom, and the new American dream.
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem to accompany SEVEN GUITARS
Sunday, September 20 at 5:30pm (following the 3pm performance of SEVEN GUITARS)
Dylan and Mingus – one white, one black - are best friends growing up on a rough street in Brooklyn in the 1970s through the 1990s. Surrounded by the characters of their community and bonded by their love for music and comic books, the boys’ friendship is tested as the paths of their lives begin to diverge. In conjunction with SEVEN GUITARS, we’ll discuss the good and bad sides of growing up in a tight-knit community, the power of musical stardom, and the dark side of a dream that dies.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman to accompany THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES
Sunday, September 21st at 5:30pm
In THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES, Molière created a protagonist, Arnolphe, who attempts to create the perfect wife by raising a young woman to know nothing but the ‘rules’ for being a good spouse. A few centuries later, Adelle Waldman wrote a highly acclaimed novel about a smart, thirtysomething man in Brooklyn looking for his perfect girlfriend. We’ll talk about love, the ‘rules’ of dating, and what’s changed for each gender (and what hasn’t).
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole to accompany CAMELOT
Sunday, December 7th at 5:30pm
The stories of King Arthur and his knights have enchanted and inspired generations. In John Kennedy Toole’s cult comedy classic, one of Literature’s most unusual heroes, the intellectual, modernity-hating, hygiene-challenged, hilariously self-deluded Ignatius J Reilly fancies himself a modern-day knight. We’ll discuss how the legends of old have influenced stories throughout time, and look into how thinking of yourself as a knight might not necessarily make you one.
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie to accompany ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR
Sunday, January 18th at 5:30pm
Alan Ayckbourn’s farce Absurd Person Singular is a masterpiece of comedy, and more specifically a masterpiece of British comedy. The Gun Seller, written by the actor Hugh Laurie (most famous as the star of the TV show HOUSE), is a farcical and hilarious spy novel with a distinctly UK tone. We’ll discuss what makes a particularly British sense of humor, and what kind of laughs translate across the pond.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed to accompany GUADALUPE IN THE GUEST ROOM
Sunday, March 8th at 4:30pm (following the 3pm performance)
GUADALUPE IN THE GUEST ROOM is a beautiful new play about a Mexican woman, Guadalupe, who must learn to find a connection with her white son-in-law Steve after the unexpected death of her daughter. Cheryl Strayed’s beautiful memoir, Wild, tells of her attempt to find healing by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after the devastating death of her mother. We’ll discuss love, loss, and the unexpected sources of healing.
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride to accompany YOUR BLUES AIN’T SWEET LIKE MINE
Sunday, May 3 at 5pm (following the 3pm performance)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s new play dives deep into America’s legacy of slavery and the complex relationship between African-Americans in contemporary American society and the white people who want to help heal the divide between the races. In James McBride’s highly-acclaimed new novel (a National Book Award Winner for fiction in 2013), a young slave boy unites with the famed white abolitionist John Brown as he travels across the country. We’ll discuss our shared history and the limitations placed on African-Americans and whites in the move towards civil rights.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky to accompany BE MORE CHILL
Tuesday, June 16th at 7:30pm
We were all teenagers once, and chances are we all remember the moments of awkwardness and pain that are almost unavoidable in that tricky age. Both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and BE MORE CHILL paint portraits of the awkward years that are equal parts hilarious, cringeworthy, and heartbreaking. We’ll discuss the peculiar legacy of the teen years, and what changes in the portrayal of teens over time. FREE!