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Gatz…A 7 Hour 40 Minutes Play

May 23, 2010

Event: Gatz (as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2010)
Venue: Esplanade Theatre Studio
Run: 21st May – 23rd May 2010

Yes, I attended the famed play “Gatz” by New York-based theatre ensemble Elevator Repair Service (ERS) at the Esplanade Theatre Studio at 2pm this afternoon.

No, I didn’t stay for the whole thing, which was slated to end at around 940pm(!).

In fact, I left at the very first intermission at around 415pm.

Please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t leave because it was not good.

It was brilliant and had all the makings of a classic.

I left because I had something else to attend to in the evening, and because I was just too tired to go on any further.

(My stamina for plays only last for about 2 hours of so. I’ve never been pushed to more than 2 hours at a stretch before.)

“Gatz” was highly-recommended to me by a respected local theatre critic, so I decided to give it a shot.

It’s got one of the most interesting premises ever:

The whole play is so long because it’s basically a word-for-word reading of the entire book of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby”.

It starts when a guy walks into his office, realises that his computer isn’t working that morning, stumbles upon the book “The Great Gatsby” on his desk, then starts reading it word-for-word from first page to the last.

(That’s why it takes almost 8 hours, including intermissions.)

And along the way, the people in the office start to somehow act along with whatever he’s reading from the book.

Interesting huh?

I think I’m going to read “The Great Gatsby” one day.

I only made it through till Chapter 3 of the reading this afternoon.

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