I'm going next week. I shelled out more money than I'm used to, partly because the person I'm going with is a big Gatsby fan, and also I'm very curious to see it. The thing is, I hated their Measure For Measure, but I'm slightly more optimistic about Gatz because, based on what I've seen and read about it, it seems like there is a more well-thought out framing concept for the delivery of the text. As opposed to M4M which truly felt like a pointless gimmick. I also think my mindset changes when I'm in for a marathon event compared to a normal-length show. I feel more willing to sit through things when they're 5+ hours than I do when they're 2+ hours.
I consider it one of the great theatre experiences ever. Saw the original, happy to return now. But to each their own. Def not for everyone but there is a host of positive writing about it from all over the world.
Well, since I'm seeing it at the Berkeley Rep next month, and bringing along my skeptical partner, I certainly hope I agree more with HogansHero than some of you. I'm looking forward to it, but I can certainly understand why the long day's journey into night wouldn't be for everyone. It might not be for me, although the novel is one of my favorites (which might help, or might not).
This show has always intrigued me because like many of you, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books. However, I also have noticed that there has never been a truly successful stage adaptation of the story.Film is different, and maybe I'm in the minority here, but I consider Baz Luhrmann's movie to be the best dramatic adaptation of the story. If he had only included the important ending scene with Gatsby's father, I'd even call it definitive.
I've gone twice, and I'd go again.
We're also going to the Berkeley Rep performance next month. I do generally like Gatsby, plus I like listening to audiobooks, so I'm cautiously optimistic. And if absolutely nothing else, it's an excuse to get food at Gecko Gecko.
As noted earlier in the thread, I saw the show when it was in NYC most recently. I had some personal criticisms of the way they handled the framing device later in the show, but it was a really cool experience overall. I was pretty beat by the end of it though, and I'd be lying if my attention didn't waver somewhat at certain points. It's quite marathon. Glad I went though, and glad I stayed for the whole thing.
Ado Annie D'Ysquith said: "However, I also have noticed that there has never been a truly successful stage adaptation of the story."This is a curious statement. It's not like Gatz is some new as-yet unseen show. And while there are of course people (here and elsewhere) who did not enjoy it (as is true of every show), it would be hard to say, objectively, that it is not "truly successful."
I'm with those on team snooze-fest. Maybe the most emperor's new clothes moment of my theatergoing career.
The show is both brilliant and tedious.
I saw it yesterday at the Berkeley Rep. I can certainly understand why it's not for everyone, but I found it an extraordinary theatrical experience, not because it was perfect but because the framing device allowed me to see (and hear) The Great Gatsby in a new way. One's enjoyment undoubtedly depends on what you think of the novel to begin with, though, interestingly, the play in a way points out some of its flaws.It was worth seeing, as far as I was concerned, just to see and hear Scott Shepherd read almost the entire novel himself. He's such a perfect Nick, does clever voices for several other characters, and anchors the play. Although I had read he has memorized the entire thing, it's obvious anyway when's 'reading' the novel in the dark and later puts the book down entirely. It's hard to compare his performance to other actors' great performances, because he's asked to do something very different, but he carries the play and brings out the novel's humor very effectively. Even in a larger venue (The Roda Theater seats 600 people, and the orchestra section - where we sat towards the back - was full), the show feels quite intimate, especially in its quiet moments.Some chapters work better than others. The raucous, unpleasant party in New York City early in the novel is a standout, and Luarena Allan - as Myrtle - is especially good. Chapter 5 (when Gatsby and Daisy meet at Nick's small home) didn't work for me, as it is played more for broad laughs. There's plenty of absurdity to be mined, of course, but there is also genuine tension that sets up the remainder of the story - and it gets a little lost in the exaggerated comic bits. On the other hand, the other Manhattan scene - the unpleasant, tense drive to New York City and showdown at a ritzy motel - is handled quite well. Robert M. Johanson, who is an excellent Tom throughout, is terrific in that scene.There are inconsistencies in the performances that detracted from the show on occasion. Some actors are outstanding. Others are inconsistent. Usually, that doesn't really matter. But there are other times when I felt that a few actors were miscast or simply not at the level of others.But the overall experience of the play was memorable. The framing device didn't matter all that much to me, although plenty of humor is mined from it along the way. Gradually, that all fades away. As much as anything, though, Gatz felt to me about entering the world of a novel, written by someone long ago, or far away, and becoming caught up in a story that is nothing like my own reality - but caring and empathizing nonetheless. That's the real magic of the play. That it's about The Great Gatsby, filled with funny and poetic lines even in F. Scott Fitzgerald's asides, makes it even better.
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