I spent Friday at Gatz, the 7-hour production of The Great Gatsby staged by Elevator Repair Service at the American Repertory Theater. It’s a staged reading: a fellow comes back to a dingy office, his PV won't boot, he opens up his 5" floppy disk case and finds a battered paperback. He begins reading.
Every word. Other people around the office work, they wander in and out, and from time to time they pick up bits of dialog. This really makes a difference — it makes it theater. Jordan Baker (Sibyl Kempson), Nick’s golf-star girlfriend, lounges around the office practicing her swing, reading golf magazines, and looking at Nick; it’s a quiet part, but Kempson is a terrific clown in the best sense of the word, and with a toss of her head and a twist of her shoulders she transforms herself from a a short, dark worker in a dingy, dark office to the sleek, rich, blonde who might have been Nick’s Daisy Buchanan.
There are too many standing ovations these days — Linda and I pointedly sit through at least half of them — but it’s impressive to get a standing O after seven hours of watching a guy read a book. Brilliant.