If you believe that “good neighbors make strange bedfellows,” then you might want to borrow a cup of sugar or share glass of wine with “The Realistic Joneses,” a world premiere play by William Eno currently entertaining company at the Yale Repertory Theatre until Saturday, May 12.
Bob and Jennifer Jones enjoy sitting outside of an evening talking of inconsequentials, the lonely hooting of an owl, the quietness of basking under a canopy of stars. Living in the shadows of the mountains is a peaceful and powerful balm as they try to avoid dealing with Bob’s devastating illness.
Their snippets of chatter and conversation are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of John and Pony, who are also Joneses and have moved in a few steps down the road. Like a Welcome Wagon in reverse, John and Pony have brought a bottle of wine to Bob and Jennifer’s picnic table to make their acquaintance.
As these two couples waltz and cha-cha around each other, it quickly becomes clear that strange things are happening in the suburbs. Non sequiturs, unrelated babbles of talk, are planted in the garden like daffodils and tulips, and are picked up and discarded without cause or reason. Everyone talks but nobody listens, everyone is afraid, but nobody cares. They each have an agenda but it is written in sand and easily erased. While there are a lot of serious topics alluded to, they engender little meaningful response.
Tracy Letts and Johanna Day as Bob and Jennifer interact with Glenn Fitzgerald and Parker Posey, as John and Pony, communing with nature but failing to communicate with each other. Sam Gold directs this meandering trek into suburbia where real issues like love, fidelity, marriage, career, illness and death are lurking behind the pine trees, ready to jump out and scare you silly.
For tickets ($20-88), call the Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven, corner of York, at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org. Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Perch on the picnic bench and squeeze yourself into the conversation as you sip a glass of Merlot and discover for yourself if the Joneses are realistic or not.