ROSWELL, Ga. – Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Golden Boy of the Jazz Age, flappers and bootleggers, returns to recreate that brief candle known as the Roaring ’20s and the lifestyles of the rich and decadent.
This time, Gatsby hits the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, where he is played onstage by Jason McDonald in the adaptation by Simon Levy approved by the Fitzgerald estate. The character Nick Carraway (Bryan Brendle) is our spy into the upper crust world of greed, obsession and sordidness set in Long Island, N.Y.
Directed by GET actor/director Tess Malis Kincaid, we again are witness to the “decay of the American Dream.”
Kincaid said “Gatsby” translates well into the medium of the theater, and is blessed with a strong Atlanta-bred cast.
“The creative team for this production has collaborated so well to weave original music and a unique theatricality into this story of love, hope, carelessness, decadence and heartbreak,” Kincaid said.
First, the cast is huge with nine principal actors and six more supporting actors. Then the imagery of the book is reinforced throughout the play so that it resonates in recurring ways that echo the book but retain the theatricality of the play.
“The images are randomly present throughout for the audience. They are a constant reference to those iconic images in the book. It’s really a gift that we can bring it to the stage that way,” Kincaid said.
The visuals and the ensemble cast create a resonance and depth within the play that beautiful and is also voyeuristic. The Jazz Age is a presence within the play and is evoked throughout with music. Though it is originally composed by Jason Polhemus, it infuses the play with the tone and setting of the Jazz Age throughout, Kincaid said.
Jay Gatsby is a self-made millionaire – just how is somewhat shady. He passionately pursues the love of his life, the now-married Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, the young newcomer from the Midwest is drawn into their world of glamour and decadent excess as is the audience.
“Gatsby” was not well-considered when Fitzgerald first published it in 1925. However, the next generation, embroiled in World War II, discovered the novel and found new meaning in it. In the 1950s, it found its way into colleges and high schools to be dissected and discussed.
Today, “Gatsby” the novel is considered by many to be one of the great American novels, maybe even THE great American novel – perhaps because pursuit of love and money is still the American Dream.
‘The Great Gatsby’
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
950 Forrest St., Roswell
Tickets: $25 to $35; perimeter tickets $10 based on availability. Online at www.get.org,
or at the box office at 770-641-1260.
Feb. 27 through March 16
Revue and News 02-26-14