Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Princeton Day Trip to Run a "Gatz" Marathon - Part II

ERS - Gatz
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, is ranked the second best novel by the Modern Library (after James Joyce's Ulysses). Pair an American classic with a theatrical reading by a top notch ensemble - Elevator Repair Service -  and you have a day of theater bliss.

While a worker (played by Scott Shepherd) in a rundown office waits for his slow computer to boot up, he finds a copy of The Great Gatsby on his desk and begins to read it out loud word for word. He becomes completely engrossed and the novel begins to come alive around him in the dingy office. He takes on the persona of narrator Nick Carraway and his coworkers begin to take on the persona of Jay Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson and the remaining characters in The Great Gatsby.

I loved this production. Gatz was well worth the day trip to Princeton to see. It reminded me of the excitement of losing myself in a novel...so much so that I had to stay up through the night to complete it. Aaah those days.


Furthermore, this is a classic that deals with prosperity, excess, greed and "...careless people...[who] smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." While The Great Gatsby takes place during the Jazz Age, these themes are timeless. Eventually, the narrator Nick Carraway "unadaptable to Eastern life" leaves New York behind and returns to the Midwest.

With several breaks including a 75 minute dinner break, the running time for Gatz is roughly 8 hours. By the end of the first act which runs approximately two hours, I was engrossed in the production and happy. This production though is not for everyone. By the end of the first act, someone in the right section of the theater was snoring. After the third act, three seniors in front of me bailed. I wanted to yell don't go...only 90 minutes remaining. However if you are a theater aficionado, avid reader of American classics or a lover of F. Scott Fitzgerald'sThe Great Gatsby, then this production is for you. Elevator Repair Service's Gatz returns to The Public Theater beginning March 14th.

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