Weird, quirky The Realistic Joneses comes to KCMO

The Kansas City Actors Theatre production of "The Realistic Joneses" runs May 24 through June 4 at the City Stage theatre at Union Station. Photo provided.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

“A lot of people have likened it to Samuel Beckett’s work,” says John Rensenhouse, talking about the Will Eno play The Realistic Joneses. The play will be produced by the Kansas City Actors Theatre May 24-June 11. “It’s a Beckett play for the Jon Stewart generation.”

Eno connects two suburban couples who have so much more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities and, ultimately, confront mortality.

Talking about the mortality part, Rensenhouse says, “It’s about our attempts to communicate and our inability to communicate with our loved ones about that.”

“All that being said, it’s a comedy,” he said. “A lot of it is really funny. The miscommunication comes off in a comic way. It is an evocative piece; you can’t specifically put your finger on a meaning. It’s about how things are evoked in a strange sort of way.

“I love the simplicity of it, the humor of it and just the evocative mystery of it. The dialogue is realistic, not like scripted dialogue in a normal play. It’s very true to how conversations go.”

Rensenhouse, in addition to being the director of the production is also a member of the board of directors and an actor. Kansas City Actors Theatre stages their works at KCMO’s City Stage theatre at Union Station. It is an intimate, 200 seat theatre. “At Actors Theatre, we try to do plays that are centered around the language, the actors, the word.”

In that sense, “It really takes you deep into the heart and minds of these four characters,” he says. “It’s weird, it’s quirky. But it’s an intelligent piece and we like to do intelligent things.”

He concluded, “It really is quite funny. It’s a comic drama. It’s a unique play that you just don’t see in Kansas City. You don’t see this kind of work. I’m very excited we’re doing it and I think people will really like it.”

The New York Times summed the play up when reviewing its Broadway production: “Plays as funny and moving, as wonderful and weird as The Realistic Joneses, by Will Eno, do not appear often on Broadway.

"Mr. Eno’s voice may be the most singular of his generation, but it’s humane, literate and slyly hilarious. He makes the most mundane language caper and dance, revealing how absurd attempts at communication can be. He also burrows into the heart of his characters to reveal the core of their humanity.”

The Realistic Joneses will be at City Stage at Union Station May 24 through June 11. Tickets are $25-$40 with discounts for seniors, students, Millennials and groups. Tickets are available online at or by phone at (816) 235-6222.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – May 10, 2017 @ 10:45 a.m.