“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau
Playwright Will Eno writes in the notes for THE REALISTIC JONESES that while each of the four characters are dealing with illness, death, and mortality, they are also just trying to get through the day (pick up groceries, etc.). You might say that they are living in quiet desperation. But what if those personal thoughts, the “quiet” that Thoreau refers to, were exposed? What if these characters’ inner monologues were shared, spoken in a sort of stream of consciousness within a normal conversation? This is what we get with Will Eno’s writing. The result is a play that is at once extremely funny, very sad, at moments touching, and which raises to the surface larger ideas.
Famously dubbed by Charles Isherwood of The New York Times the “Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation”, Will Eno’s playfulness and dryness of language is humorous, unique, and provocative. Mr. Eno is one of the most important playwrights in American Theatre today and Dobama Theatre has been a champion of his work, having previously staged acclaimed productions of THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING) and MIDDLETOWN. While MIDDLETOWN borrowed thematically from Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN, I believe there are distinct traces of Albee’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF in THE REALISTIC JONESES. The biting humor and human relationships, something both plays have in common, help make THE REALISTIC JONESES perhaps Mr. Eno’s most “realistic” and accessible play.
As with many great plays, THE REALISTIC JONESES is at once about life’s biggest questions and smallest details; about human beings being at once both small and insignificant as well as precious and invaluable in our relationships with each other. These things can touch us deeply, make us think profoundly, and laugh heartily.
We hope you enjoy Will Eno’s distinctive and hilarious new play THE REALISTIC JONESES. With a tremendous cast and superb design team, you’re surely in for a first-rate production. As we begin 2016, let us take this opportunity to thank you for supporting Dobama and live professional theatre in Cleveland. You make all we do possible.
With Love and Respect,