BOZEMAN, Mont., March 24, 2018—Audiences will hear one of the brightest voices in American theater as Bozeman Actors Theatre presents “The Realistic Joneses,” a play by Will Eno that The Guardian named 2014’s “Best Play on Broadway.” The local production opens April 19 at The Rialto in downtown Bozeman.
Eno, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, has collected critical acclaim and the admiration of actors everywhere for his idiosyncratic ear for language and his dialogue steeped in a signature blend of wit and pathos. The New York Times has called Eno “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.”
“From the very first time I read this play, I was impressed by—no, more intrigued by—Eno's ability to write believable and heartfelt dialogue,” said director Joel Jahnke, well-known to audiences as both an actor (last appearing in “Jimmie and Pete” at The Ellen Theatre) and as the longtime artistic director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks until his retirement in 2013.
“Eno has a way of gently infusing the way we all talk and communicate normally with the heightened sense that great dramatic writing requires,” Jahnke added. “This is a rare gift and what makes this play rise above most others.”
In “The Realistic Joneses,” Bob and Jennifer Jones (played by Mark Kuntz and Cara Wilder) meet their new neighbors, John and Pony Jones (played by Miles Duffey and Claire Barley), during a starlit backyard encounter in a town not unlike Bozeman. In the days that follow, the couples realize they have even more in common than their suburban neighborhood and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities as they wrestle with ponderous questions of mortality and intimacy—often with subtle humor.
“I’m fascinated with how real these characters are to me,” Jahnke said. “They seem from the outset to be people I know, my neighbors, my friends. They’re funny, touching, complicated and troubled, often in the same moment. Couple this kind of writing with a great cast and the result is a captivating evening in the theater.”
“The Realistic Joneses” is the fourth play in Bozeman Actors Theatre’s 2017-18 season and the first since “I Am My Own Wife” sold out all six shows at Verge Theater in February. Mark Kuntz last appeared in the company’s “Copenhagen” and “Fool for Love” to start the season. Cara Wilder, former artistic director and co-founder of the company, last performed for BAT in “Marjorie Prime” in 2017. Claire Barley appeared in BAT’s 2014 production of “The Language Archive,” as well as the 2016 staged reading of another Will Eno play, “Middletown,” in which Kuntz and Wilder also appeared. Miles Duffey, an actor for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks since 2011, most recently playing Happy in Death of a Salesman, is performing with Bozeman Actors Theatre for the first time.
Bozeman Actors Theatre will present “The Realistic Joneses” by Will Eno at The Rialto, 10 West Main St. in downtown Bozeman. Shows run Thursday through Saturday, April 19-21 and April 26-28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $24 in advance at www.bozemanactorstheatre.org or $27 at the door.