The Jazz Age comes to the stage at OCT with The Great Gatsby, February 28-March 22
The Jazz Age, a term coined by Fitzgerald, followed close on the heels of the Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner; the gold leaf is peeling away, and Fitzgerald's novel reveals much of the cheaper materials under the bright but tarnishing surface. Nick, the narrator, is a writer - or a bond man, as in stocks and bonds, though he never does any of that through the course of the novel - who encounters the legend of Gatsby before he encounters the man. Relationships, secrets, passions worthy of any modern soap opera unfold, or are peeled back like the layers of an onion, ultimately revealing a hollow and empty core. Fitzgerald juggles symbols and symbolism like a later master of the technique, Tennessee Williams - the all-seeing eyes on the billboard, the green light across the harbor of yearning and jealousy, the gulf of the harbor itself, etc. - details which help to lift the work out of the realm of "mere" soap opera and melodrama. In part because of the successful capture of a post WWI mood of disillusionment (Fitzgerald had enlisted, but the war ended before he saw any "action"), among other threads of art and skill, The Great Gatsby is on the short list for "the great American novel." Other novels often mentioned for honors include Huckleberry Finn, Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, and others. (Why didn't Look Homeward, Angel make the wiki list? idk.)
The Great Gatsby is presented on Oregon Contemporary Theater's stage in the format of Simon Levy's script (who also adapted Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon for the stage). Elizabeth Helman (M.A. and Ph.D. in theater from University of Oregon) makes her OCT directing debut with this production. The cast includes Andrew Beck as Jay Gatsby, Steve Coatsworth as Nick Carraway, Shannon Coltrane as Daisy Buchanan, Tony Stirpe as Tom Buchanan, Katie Worley as Jordan Baker, as well as Blake Beardsley, Sarah Clausen, Amira Fahoum, Christopher McVay, and Tom Wilson.
Tickets are available online and at the box office of Oregon Contemporary Theater.