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Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Marisa Tomei Star in "The Realistic Joneses" at the Lyceum Theatre
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Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Marisa Tomei Star in "The Realistic Joneses" at the Lyceum Theatre

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In association with Yale Repertory Theatre

Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei

The Realistic Joneses
(The Realistic Joneses Web Page)

By Will Eno
Directed by Sam Gold

At the
Lyceum Theatre
A Schubert Organization
149 West 45th Street

Scenic Design: David Zinn
Lighting Design: Mark Barton
Costume Design: Kate Voyce
Sound Design: Leon Rothenberg
Technical Supervisor: Hudson Theatrical Associates
Casting: Daniel Swee, CSA
Marketing/Press Representative: Irene Gandy/Alana Karpoff
Christopher Pineda/Thomas Raynor
Advertising: Serino/Coyne
Assoc. Producers: Michael Crea/PJ Miller
General Manager: Bespoke Theatricals
Production Stage Manager: Jill Cordle

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 15, 2014

Will Enoís new Broadway play, The Realistic Joneses, which was first produced at Yale Repertory, is cast with two couples, all Joneses, Bob (Tracy Letts) and Jennifer (Toni Collette), and John (Michael C. Hall) and Pony (Marisa Tomei). This intermission-less play is set in a rural back yard in a small town near a mountain, maybe New Hampshire or Vermont. We see a faded, redwood table, moonlit trees and greens, and assorted picnic paraphernalia, but no sign of joviality, like glasses of wine, bread, cheese, and such, are in sight. Mark Barton keeps the night sky dark, as Bob and Jennifer, a middle-aged couple, share a conversation thatís a fusion of kindergarten chatter, about-to-be-divorced restaurant chatter, and senior home, living room chatter. That is, Bob and Jennifer are communicating in free-associated sound bites, each related or unrelated to the previous bite, the human version of computer auto-fill. Bob sees a medical specialist in the town for a rare disease, but details are enigmatic and elusive.

Some forest-related sounds are followed by the appearance of John and Pony, a young couple also named Jones, new to town, for obtuse reasons. Later the revelation is less interesting than the puzzle. When the four banter, itís still in non sequitors, stilted and spontaneous. Even more, especially when Pony rattles on, the impression is childlike chatter, but the physical gestures and glances open up the senses of yearning and flirtation, both awkwardly missing within each original couple, these senses openly exposed in a brief new coupling of characters. Pony gives Bob a visibly youthful sense of self, a manliness of spirit, and a mature, talkative manner. Bob gives Pony someone to lean on, someone to spark adventure. Jennifer gives John a more intellectual, wordly woman as a catalyst for his own hormones, while John gives Jennifer someone to spark her own adventure, with engaging communication, as well. And, so the evening progresses.

All four actors create a magnificent ensemble, just as those in Will Enoís The Open House did last month, anticipating each otherís pauses and body language. Sam Gold directed for understated feelings, desires, and motivations, since in this play, less is more. David Zinnís casual, backyard, scenery is replete with undertones and references, like empty wine glasses and corked wine. Kaye Voyceís costumes seem more wrinkled and bland when couples are with spouses, and more fetching when not, and Mark Bartonís lighting works well on the home interiors, imagined behind screen doors, and magnificently on the home exteriors. Leon Rothenbergís sound design also works well front and rear stage, and the crickets and nighttime, woodland hoots are spell-binding. Kudos to Will Eno. .

Toni Collette and Michael C. Hall
in "The Realistic Joneses"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts
in "The Realistic Joneses"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei
in "The Realistic Joneses"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at