Fitzgerald, F. Scott: 1896 - 1940
Play - 'Gatz', 2006 by John Collins
- "Gatz" takes place in a depressed modern office. A beleaguered white-collar employee enters, picks up a copy of "The Great Gatsby" and starts to read. He doesn't stop.
At first, his co-workers don't seem to notice, but as the show progresses, parallels start to emerge between people in the office and characters from the book. A Jay Gatsby type enters wearing a white suit and a yellow tie. Sometimes actors interrupt the reading to recite dialogue, often engaging in scenes with one another. Before you know it, the show shifts from a man reading "Gatsby" to a performance of "Gatsby" staged around the man.
When working on the play, John Collins was confronted with the thorny question that every person who adapts a novel into a play must face: What to cut?
Since the book is so tautly written, John Collins and his associate director, Steve Bodow, had trouble figuring out an answer until they came up with a radical idea: keep it all, every "and," "he said" and punctuation mark. At seven and a half hours, including three intermissions, "Gatz" is one of the most faithful adaptations in the history of theater. Falling somewhere between a reading and a conventional play, it is certainly an unusual theatrical experiment.
Excerpted from The New York Times article 'Can This Town Handle Two Gatsbys?'; July 16, 2006.
"Gatz" is a production of the Elevator Repair Service, New York.
- Excerpt of the performance by the Elevator Repair Service
- John Collins talks about his production of 'Gatz'. Zurich, Switzerland. Host: Hans Fischer. Swisseduc; August 26, 2006
- 'Great Gatsby' Onstage, With A White-Collar Twist. NPR; October 1, 2010 - Transcript