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The A.R.T. presents Elevator Repair Service performing ‘Gatz’ beginning January 7


The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) presents Gatz, the critically acclaimed international touring production by Elevator Repair Service directed by ERS founder and artistic director John Collins. The production performs from January 7 through February 7, 2010 at the Loeb Drama Center.

A theatrical tour-de-force, Gatz is conceived as a single six-hour production in which the ensemble brings to life every word of the novel with no text added and none removed. Gatz is a one-of-a-kind theatrical event defined by its radical commitment to one of the 20th Century’s greatest novels.

Gatz begins one morning in the low-rent office of a mysterious small business when an employee finds a ragged old copy of The Great Gatsby in the clutter of his desk and starts to read it out loud. And doesn’t stop. At first his coworkers hardly seem to notice, but then strange coincidences start happening in the office, one after another, until it’s no longer clear whether he’s reading the book or the book is doing something to him…

The Performances
The performance schedule for Gatz has been structured to enable audiences to view the entire production in one day (Saturdays, Sundays, Monday 1/18, Fridays 1/15, 1/29, and 2/5). These performances include two intermissions and an hour-long dinner break, for a total running time of approximately seven and a half hours. Audiences attending weekday evening performances will be able view the first half (Chapters 1-5 of the novel) and the second half (Chapters 6-9) in succession on different days. A complete performance schedule follows below.

Originally created by ERS in late 2004, Gatz has subsequently toured to nine countries on four continents, playing the Sydney Opera House, the Holland Festival, the Vienna Festival, the Dublin Theatre Festival, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center, and the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, among others. Gatz stars Wooster Group veteran Scott Shepherd and features New York City Players’ Jim Fletcher in the title role.

A cast of thirteen is led by Scott Shepherd as Nick, the narrator (The Wooster Group’s Hamlet) and includes actors Victoria Vazquez as Daisy (ERS’ The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928) at New York Theatre Workshop; company member, NYC Players), Jim Fletcher in the title role (Forced Entertainment and NYC Players), and Gary Wilmes as Tom (Obie winner, Adam Rapp’s Red Light Winter at Steppenwolf and the Barrow Street Theater; films include A Mighty Heart, I Hate Valentines Day, Salt.) It also includes Susie Sokol (Jordan), Sibyl Kempson (Jordan), Laurena Allan (Myrtle), Aaron Landsman (Wilson), Frank Boyd (Wilson), Annie McNamara (Catherine), Kristen Sieh (Catherine), Kate Scelsa (Lucille), Vin Knight (Chester), Mike Iveson (Klipspringer), Ben Williams (Michaelis), and Ross Fletcher (Henry C. Gatz).

The creative team is led by ERS’ longtime director and founder John Collins. Also contributing is associate director Steve Bodow, ERS’ former co-director, a founding member of the company, and now the head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (six Emmy awards and a Peabody Award.) Obie Award-winner Louisa Thompson (Blasted at Soho Rep) designs the set. Mark Barton, a Lortel Award nominee whose numerous off-Broadway credits include Circle Mirror Transformation, The Shipment, Chair, No Child… and Thom Pain (based on nothing) designs the lighting. Colleen Werthmann (13P’s American Treasure, Beast at New York Theatre Workshop) designs costumes.

John Collins (director) founded Elevator Repair Service (ERS) in 1991 with his first production, Mr. Antipyrine, Fire Extinguisher. In the 18 years since, he has directed or co-directed all of the company’s shows. From 1993 to 2006 he worked for The Wooster Group as a sound designer (two Drama Desk nominations and two Bessie Awards). As a lighting designer, he won a Bessie Award for his design of ERS’ Room Tone. John was born in North Carolina and raised in Vidalia, Georgia. He holds a B.A. in English and Theater Studies from Yale.

Elevator Repair Service, a theater ensemble, was founded by director John Collins and a group of actors in 1991. Since that time, ERS has built a body of highly acclaimed work and has appeared on stages in downtown New York and across the U.S. and Europe. ERS shows are built around a broad range of subject matter including literary, dramatic and cinematic forms. They combine elements of hi-tech and lo-tech design, vaudeville, both literary and found text, found objects and discarded furniture and the group’s own highly developed style of choreography. The company has generated a repertoire that includes
14 original full-length pieces and several short pieces and workshop productions. ERS is the recipient of the 2009 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Theater Grant, TCG’s 2009 Peter Zeisler Memorial Awars for Outstanding Achievement. The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928) was nominated for the 2009 Lucille Awards for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Sound Design. During its run at the Sydney Opera House, Gatz was nominated for Australia’s prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Play.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the American Repertory Theater (website | profile | tag archive).

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