Award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage this spring with the Atlantic Canadian premiere of The Realistic Joneses, a comedic drama named “Best Play on Broadway” by USA Today. The play will be the first production in the newly renovated Park Place Theatre in Point Pleasant Park.
In The Realistic Joneses, written by the acclaimed American playwright Will Eno, we meet Bob (Christian Murray) and Jennifer (Kathryn MacLellan), and their new neighbours John (Matthew Lumley) and Pony (Gil Anderson), two suburban couples trying to keep up with hiding their own secrets while attempting to learn the secrets of the others. As their lives intertwine, they discover that they have much more in common than the same last name.
“I absolutely love this play,” says KAZAN artistic director Kathryn MacLellan. “It’s smart, it’s modern, it’s original…the language is real. I knew it would be our next show as soon as I read it.”
The KAZAN production will be directed by two-time Governor General’s Award nominee Bryden MacDonald, who recently returned to Nova Scotia after completing his Master of Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. KAZAN’s 2017 production of MacDonald’s play The Weekend Healer was nominated for three Merritt Awards and named the year’s top show in The Coast.
“Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses is a masterfully crafted play.” says MacDonald “It begins with a standard sit-com set up that gradually goes off the rails. There are elements of the absurd, comparable to Beckett and Pinter—and though a feeling of existential dread does bubble beneath the surface, the play is ultimately a comedy—a very funny comedy about the difficulty we have communicating. The play seems to live in the gap between what people feel and how they are able to express those feelings. After I read the play for the first time, lines and images resonated long after—as if the play was following me around. It’s always a good sign when a script grabs you and doesn’t want to let go.”
MacLellan adds: “It’s also very exciting to be at the new Park Place Theatre – we are grateful to Elizabeth Murphy and Jesse MacLean. Halifax has limited venues for intimate theatre and they came to our rescue when we lost The Waiting Room this past fall.”
Elizabeth Murphy, Co-Artistic Director of Shakespeare by the Sea, says: “We’re so happy KAZAN is kicking off our new space. We really hope it will be a vital new home to work by the Halifax theatre community – we have 80 seats, climate control, and of course lots of free parking.”
The Realistic Joneses features work by Victoria Marston (set design), Janet MacLellan (costume design), Alison Crosby (lighting design), Donny Walls (sound design), and KAZAN Artistic Director Kathryn MacLellan (producer).
“It’s a dream team that includes some of our KAZAN veterans back,” continues MacLellan, “like the incomparable Victoria Marston, who set-designed Communion, I, Animal and His Greatness, Donny Walls, who created the sound design for The Weekend Healer and His Greatness, Janet MacLellan’s continued excellence in costume design and co producer. We also have some fabulous newcomers, including Alison Crosby (lighting) and Tessa Pekeles (stage management).
The Realistic Joneses marks the Broadway playwriting debut of Eno, whose works include Middletown, Title and Deed and the solo show Thom Pain (based on nothing), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Will Eno is a Residency Five Fellow at the Signature Theatre in New York. The Realistic Joneses won a Drama Desk Award, was named USA Today’s “Best Play on Broadway,” topped the The Guardian’s 2014 list of American plays, and was included in The NY Times’ “Best Theatre of 2014”. The New York Times said of the broadway production: “Mr. Eno’s voice may be the most singular of his generation…humane, literate and slyly hilarious.
The Realistic Joneses previews on Thursday May 9, opens Friday, May 10 and runs to Sunday, May 19 at Park Place Theatre, 5480 Point Pleasant Drive (lower parking lot; free parking). Shows begin at 7:30PM (doors open 7:00PM) except Sunday; Sunday shows are matinees at 2:00PM (doors open 1:30PM). PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN is Sunday, May 12, 2:00PM matinee. No show Monday. Runtime: 90 minutes without intermission. For tickets: www.tickethalifax.com (search “KAZAN” or “Realistic Joneses”).