Gatzpinksuit_opt[1]

There are divisions in the theatre. Always. What is good, what is bad. What is new, what is old. What is hot, what is not. Divisions occur because there is very little anyone can absolutely say is true and right in the theatre… indeed perhaps life. It comes down to taste, attention, experience and above all else articulation of the individual’s response to what they have seen.

It has been about six weeks since I saw Gatz at the Sydney Opera House… and I continue to be fascinated by the division of the reponses. I will link through to some reviews , for your interest for a comparison and contrast of responses.
http://www.stagenoise.com/reviewsdisplay.php?id=331
http://www.australianstage.com.au/reviews/sydney/gatz–elevator-repair-service-2559.html
http://www.artshub.com.au/au/news.asp?sType=review&catId=1069&sc=1&sId=178182

Really, I think the more a show is reviewed, the better: even better.. the more differing responses to a show the better… because ultimately the conversations that happen after any shows all come from a unique point of view: there is no ulitmate voice: no voice is more valid than others: some more articulate:some louder, some more influencial… but really it is the act of discussion which is one of life’s joys/struggles. Conversation and discussion about art, theatre, whatever must remain the most important of all the arts and it must be confident and rigourous and open to other confident and rigourous discussions… for without it we are complacant, homogenous radios spruiking the thoughts of a select through. Let’s disagree and disagree beautifully.

And to the play: my thoughts? ok.

Let me declare my hand: I haven’t read The Great Gatsby. I went through a prejudice in my youth of rejecting anything seeming-like dusty literature.. I have since grown up and I am trying to catch up… so it was with fresh eyes and ears that I sat to experience this piece. I went with a director friend, a newly acquanited producer friend and her partner and my partner (a botanist by trade who HAD read the book) and we settled in for the 8 hour epic.

What a delightful and comforting thing to be read to. What an easy and relaxing mechanism: to let us, like 200 insomniac children tucked in upright in sheet-less beds listen to the story: the writing the literature, as a world around collides.

Inventive, innovative, brave, confident, clear and tender:Gatz was a suprise, a delight and a once in a lifetime experience: for I don’t believe I will have cause to see that production more than once in my life time.

What happened on stage in relation to the reading of the book was a magnificent slight of hand: and over the time we begin to perscribe opinions on the characters on stage in this office setting and the characters in the book. I enjoyed the scene in which the office became the site of a drunken party where in a complete mess was made… beyond all reason, recognition: files emptied, bottles of water rolling about on the floor, playing cards flicked high and randomly onto stage, paper scrunched and destroyed. And then. The clean up: slowly over about a five minute period, complete order restored.

This was a theatre experience which explored time (the audience’s/the office workers/the characters in the book), about the life that is secret, the life invented, the details noticed and left unnoticed and unvalued in the lives of characters. And for me the richness of the staging subverted the beige and brown office tedium design… the echos of text in real life felt natural and connected… for I find it to be true that if I am reading a book/seeing a play whatever, the art begins to seep into my life, and little ressonances occur:a turn of phrase, an image, an object: and all the world converges for a moment in the art: universal and unique.

I will continue to think about this production. about what it means as theatre. What literature means as theatre. What divides my opinion. What has strengthened my impressions and assessments… and what has changed in me as a result of seeing this show.

More about the company and the project can be found:
http://www.elevator.org/