By Sawyer Shafer
There is something to be said for a timeless tale coming to life onstage. I truly believe that everyone in my line of work has a story they would like to tell more than any other. For me, this story was - and is - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. At first, I found it hard to explain what drew me to this tale of love, deception, and lust. When I read the book for the first time in high school, others around me truly seemed to hate it. I'll admit, even I wasn't praising the book until about the end of the fourth chapter, but I was unable to put the book down from that point on! What was it that drew me into this magnificent and extravagant world full of tarnished people?
The Great Gatsby was to me, at that moment, what the green light is to Mr. Jay Gatsby himself. It's this unobtainable narrative that, once truly captured, you're reluctant to let go of. This (now) Jazz Age-old tale has become a cornerstone for reflecting on, and attempting to repeat the past. Most of all, in its prime, Gatsby was an experiment in self-reflection. F. Scott Fitzgerald used this tale to hold a mirror up to society and say, "Look at what we're doing to each other! Look at what you're doing to yourselves!" And yet we praise the Roaring Twenties! We beg and we wish to be engulfed in the everlasting, enigmatic twenties.
So that is what we here at Sansami plan to do with our presentation of this story.
Our production of The Great Gatsby is just as much of an experiment in the expression of our art as the novel was when Fitzgerald took it to print. In some shape or form, each and every one of our performers currently faces the challenge of doing something they've never done before; from the leading ladies who have never led, to the featured actors who wind up dead, this production is full of firsts for not only our audience, but the entire cast and crew as well. Through integrated audience movement, it is our intention that you will be immersed in the story as it is spun by Nick Carraway (Zane Woodruff), and that, when all is said and done, you too will believe in the green light.
Please make no mistake, this production is an experiment. To my knowledge, no local performance has ever put such a spin on any performance piece. That's why we're doing it - here and now - August 4th thru 6th. Much like Mr. Fitzgerald's narrator, we here at Sansami find ourselves in uncharted territory, and we hope that you will join us in this endeavor, as our companion and our confidant.