Even before social media, people always assumed that what public face was presented to the world was the reality of that person. “The Realistic Joneses” which was performed on Broadway in 2014, combines comedy and pathos as Bob and Jennifer Jones meet new neighbors John and Pony Jones with identical homes and a common last name. A Public Fit Theater Company will present the play in The College of Southern Nevada Backstage Theatre April 27-May 7.
Brandi Blackman, production manager of A Public Fit, is the stage manager for “The Realistic Joneses” and, as she stated, “I am the glue that holds everything together.”
She got into theater through the route of mathematics. “I wanted to become an engineer,” Blackman told LVWomanMagazine.com. While she obtained her associate’s degree, she never completed her bachelor’s degree and took another career path. Blackman decided 10 years later to complete her degree but realized she would have to start at the beginning with any career in mathematics. As she was decided on what course to take while establishing residency in California to attend as a resident, she talked it over it over with her mother.
“My mom told me that I wasn’t going back to school to get a job since I was working for the past 15 years. She advised me to go to school to have fun. I thought my mom was a genius. Then I thought of theater which is so fun so I decided to pursue that.”
She knew she didn’t want to act so Blackman decided to go into stage management. She had a choice between general and technical theater and she chose technical because “general theater required voice and movement classes which sounded too much like physical education.”
Blackman was a nontraditional student being 15 years older than other students and she had held a supervisory position in the past so she “fell” into stage management. Her first position was supervising props. Her second position was stage manger and Blackman explained to her teachers she had never been trained. Her teachers had faith in her and suggested a book about stage management that proved invaluable to her.
“When I came back for the spring semester and I was put in charge of the production of ‘The Glass Menagerie’ and the following summer I got my first paying gig,” she said.
Blackman obtained her degree in stage management from California State University, Stanislaus. She then researched universities that would offer her a position as well as the opportunity to work on an advanced degree. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas offer her an assistantship and Blackman moved to Las Vegas. Technically, she did not finish due to life circumstances, and she works as a free-lance stage manager.
While not a founder, Blackman is one of the original staff members of A Public Fit. She really enjoyed working with first time director (for A Public Fit) Daniel Kucan, who is also the Associate Artistic Director of A Public Fit Theater Company.
“He was so much fun and we really enjoyed working with him. With his background in experimental theater, it was a different experience. This was our most tech-oriented shows in many ways as well,” she explained. “This takes place on Planet Joneses and very unique. It is reality but slightly off.”
“The Realistic Joneses,” written by Will Eno, first premiered at the Yale Repertory Theater in 2012 and opened on Broadway on April 6, 2014. The play closed on July 6, 2014 after 105 performances. The play was also presented as an A.C.T. production in the Geary Theater in San Francisco in 2016.
“The Realistic Joneses” features cast members include Mike Rasmussen, Rebecca Reyes, Timothy Cummings and Tina Rice. Performances will take place at The College of Southern Nevada Backstage Theatre located at 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave. Show times are 7 p.m. April 27-29, 2 p.m. April 30, 7 p.m. May 4-6 and 2 p.m. on May 5. Immediately following the performance a moderated discussion of the play’s themes, style and impressions, called The Buzzz, will be held. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit apublicfit.org.