In this 4-part Inside series, PerformInk Kansas City takes you behind the scenes of Kansas City Actors Theatre’s production of THE REALISTIC JONESES through blog posts written by the people behind the scenes. To read past Inside articles click here.
By Zoë Still
What I find most intriguing about THE REALISTIC JONESES s is how realistic the dialogue sounds between the characters. I love the way they are absolutely avoiding the topic of how to deal with a degenerative disease. The characters talk in a circular and very disjointed fashion that absolutely feels natural and authentic to the description of the Bob and John’s condition. The title is so on the nose.
The inspiration for the scenic drop was this feeling of vastness one develops when dealing with a slowly crippling mental disease. From the very first meeting with the director, John Rensenhouse, I knew it was important to keep the scenery simple. This story is about what the characters are saying as well as what they aren’t saying, and that seems to be looming over them the whole time. In an earlier version of the set we talked about moving scenery, but this show is not about the spectacle of theater craft as so many staged shows are. The set, as well as the costumes are as much about reading between the lines as the conversations the characters are having with each other are.
Since I’m designing both sets and costumes, I definitely don’t have to worry about costumes clashing with the set or vice versa. Doing both roles allows for a faster process towards developing a cohesive show, and certainly makes for one less person to fit into a meeting. It’s a really great feeling to be sought out as a dual designer, especially before I have even finished my M.F.A. degree. To be lucky enough to start on a show with as interesting of story as this one, directed by John Rensenhouse and working with four extremely talented Kansas City actors is not lost on me by any means. Just listening to the first read-through gave me chills, and I could really visualize it all melding together. I am excited to see everything come together for the tech process and opening night.
Kansas City Actors Theatre’s production of THE REALISTIC JONESES by Will Eno will begin previews on May 24th and continue its run through June 11th at the H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. Performance and ticket info at www.kcactors.org or 816-235-6222.