BWW Review: SUBSTANCE OF BLISS at NJ Rep is Riveting
New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) is presenting the World Premiere of Substance of Bliss through February 14th. This intriguing family saga is written by producer, director and playwright, Tony Glazer. Glazer captures the trials of parenting a troubled teen and the toll it can take on a couple's relationship. The two-hander has meticulous, creative direction by Evan Bergman.
In the play, Paul (Christopher Daftsios) and Donna (Susan Maris) are nervous as they anticipate the return of their fifteen year-old son, Jess. As they wait for him in their garden and patio area, they attempt to diffuse the tension by discussing topics like the aesthetics of home design and the neighborhood feral cats. But their angst mounts as they realize that the drug-addicted teen may not come home that night at all. The conversation between the two parents is riveting as they discuss their relationship and the future of their teenage son. And while much the subject matter is serious, there are real doses of humor in the show including their disagreement over a fairy statue in the garden and some late night banter with an irate neighbor lady.
Christopher Daftsios and Susan Maris deliver outstanding performances. They are completely authentic in their roles as husband and wife as they converse about day-to-day realities, the complexity of marriage and the insecurities that they feel. There are relatable moments in Substance of Bliss that will keep you captivated.
The production team brings Substance of Bliss to life with set design and props by Jessica Parks, technical direction by Brian Snyder, lighting design by Jill Nagle, sound design by Merek Royce Press and costume design by Patricia Doherty. Jennifer Tardibuono is the Stage Manager.
Substance of Bliss is an engaging, thoughtful play that you will long remember after the curtain call. See it while you can. This show should have a long life in the theater.
Substance of Bliss will be performed at New Jersey Company from January 14th through February 14th. The theatre is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, New Jersey 07740. Tickets may be purchased by calling 732.229.3166 or by visiting www.njrep.org.
Photo Credit: SuzAnne Barabas