Will Eno’s “The Realistic Joneses” is a very authentic, gritty, and bitter slice of life. We meet Bob and Jennifer Jones (John AC Kennedy and Lauri MacMillan), in a lovely peaceful moment, in their backyard, of an evening. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that this balm has a fly in it. Bob has a chronic disease, for which he’s getting treatment, and it’s not the “what,” but the “how,” that is affecting the loving relationship of these two people. When neighbors—or stalkers?—come by, who are also Joneses, we find ourselves working out exactly how these Joneses are, and will, keep up with one another.
Both simple and complex, this play is Mise en abyme, like a mirror reflecting itself, ad infinitum, with the difference that what returns is not exactly what began the journey. But then, isn’t this how life and art mirror one another?
Bob and Jennifer’s quasi-reverie is broken by new neighbors John and Pony Jones (Erik Gaden and Lilli Marques), who at first seem like Gen X self-absorbed people, caught in the web of their own clever word play. But even as John dissembles and Pony appears to be completely in her own world, these people are involved in a chess game of their own, which becomes a complicated dance of life.
Michael Driscoll has directed this brilliant ensemble, with an eye toward texture and nuance. Jennifer is perhaps the one who reveals the most of herself, and MacMillan renders her with aching vulnerability and iron strength. Kennedy’s performance is like watching the clouds race the sun on a summer day as, alternately, Bob’s brain struggles to process the extremes of variability of mood and cognitive needs. Gaden plays John’s cards close to the vest–he is an agent provocateur, who knows more than he says, with a charming Mona Lisa smile. Marques’ Pony resembles Estelle in “No Exit”–the ultimate reality is when she sees her reflection in others’ behavior toward her and each has distinctive moments, like small clear bell tones creating a symphony of thought.
Get your tickets for “The Realistic Joneses” today, before they’re sold out. Mondo, in Summit, New Jersey, is as intimate as a theatre space gets and you won’t want to miss this show, which runs through July 29. Visit www.alliancerep.org
for this season’s finale, and get a taste of what’s to come with the new season.