Catching Up with the ‘Joneses’
Despite being nominated for the Outer Critics and Drama League Awards and hailed by The New York Times’ critic as a rare “funny and moving, wonderful and weird” play from the “most singular voice of his generation, [one that’s] humane, literate, and slyly hilarious,” Will Eno’s 2004 The Realistic Joneses is only now having its Southern California premiere at Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, January 25 to February 12.
But the wait might well have been worth it, given the weighty cast of Joe Spano, Sorcha Fox, Conor Lovett, and Faline England taking on the meditative opus about two neighboring couples who share a last name, a work that Eno himself called an “inside look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know, and the secrets we never imagined we all might share.”
All of the actors – save for England as well as the director, Judy Hegarty-Lovett, who is married to Conor Lovett – are either Irish or devotees of Samuel Beckett, which also applies to Eno, whose works have often echoed Beckett’s absurdism but with more accessibility.
All of which makes England perhaps the best way for audiences to enter Joneses.
“I just sort of fell into this vortex in a way that seemed so crazy,” said England, who previously starred opposite Spano in Rubicon’s acclaimed production of Heisenberg and found herself heading over to the Lovetts’ place in Paris to read and work on The Realistic Joneses in 2021 and 2022. “All four characters are dealing with these massive, mysterious, terrifying, glorious things called life and death, yet we’re also just talking about lawn furniture. The script is so bare bones that all you have to do is open your mouth and say these brilliant words and get out of the way.”
England, a UCSB alumna for whom Joneses will be her sixth Rubicon Theatre Company show to go along with appearances in myriad other theaters and on TV and film, pronounced being part of the play a profound experience – even before it opens here.
“It’s been amazing to go on this journey with this part of me, and be in this play that is a wonderful dance between lightness and seriousness, both funny and super devastating. It’s been life changing.”
For tickets and more information, visit www.rubicontheatre.org.